Exclusive: Terrible Records, XL Recordings Sign Joint Venture Deal For Select Releases

Terrible Records, the Brooklyn-based label founded by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear and Ethan Silverman, has begun a worldwide partnership with XL Recordings to manufacture, distribute, market and promote certain future releases. The first release under the partnership, “Embracism,” by Australian new wave/industrial artist Kirin J. Callinan, arrives July 2 and will be followed by a minimum of two other releases.
 
Under the deal, select albums will be branded as Terrible but backed by XL/Beggars Group infrastructure around the world. The partnership is non-exclusive, with decisions about what future releases will be included remaining at the discretion of both parties. Terrible, which has released albums by artists including Solange Knowles and Twin Shadow since being founded in 2009, remains wholly owned by Taylor and Silverman.
 
“The idea is for Terrible to start having more of a presence in territories where we haven’t really had footing in in the past,” Silverman tells Billboard.biz. “I’ve been a huge fan of XL for a long time, and to have their machine at our disposal was a really good deal for us.”
 
The seeds of the partnership were planted in March 2012, when Silverman was in London for the wedding of his friend Caius Pawson, owner of XL subsidiary label Young Turks. Pawson introduced Silverman to XL founder/owner Richard Russell and label manager Ben Beardsworth, both of whom expressed an interest in artists Terrible was working with. Terms of a deal further solidified in January of this year when Silverman returned to London on a tour stop with Solange (who has since signed her own label deal with Sony). 
 
XL Recordings, whose artists include Adele, Vampire Weekend and M.I.A., will claim the lion’s share of profits from albums released under the partnership, while Terrible will receive an A&R royalty fee. In the case of the Callinan album, (which is being handled by Siberia Records in Australia and New Zealand because of a pre-existing deal), masters are owned by the artist.
 
Two future Terrible/XL releases are currently in talks, but not yet finalized. Candidates include recent Terrible signings Empress Of, the project of Brooklyn-based bilingual singer and multi-instrumentalist Lorely Rodriguez, and Kindness, (aka Adam Bainbridge) a singer/songwriter/producer from London.
 
“We’re focusing on artists that we both are really excited about that Terrible might need some help with either financially or in terms of the rest of the world,” Silverman says. “Right now the label is just Chris and I, so to have a team that you enjoy working with and that you know is going to be excited about every project was really important to us. This felt like the right fit.”