Kill Rock Stars Catalog Acquired by Exceleration Music
The two companies also signed a strategic partnership under which Kill Rock Stars founder Slim Moon will continue signing and developing artists.
Exceleration Music has acquired the catalog of Kill Rock Stars and formed a strategic partnership with the iconic indie label, the companies announced Tuesday.
Under the partnership, struck with Kill Rock Stars founder Slim Moon, Exceleration will amplify the label’s new release program. Moon will continue handling A&R and actively signing and developing new artists.
Exceleration and Moon will also jointly develop marketing initiatives designed to celebrate Kill Rock Stars’ progressive musical legacy and keep it alive in the modern musical landscape. Founded in 1991, the label is known for launching riot grrrl acts including Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and Heavens to Betsy and fostering the careers of artists including Elliott Smith, Sleater-Kinney, The Decemberists and Gossip.
Established in January 2021 by indie label veterans Glen Barros, John Burk, Charles Caldas, Amy Dietz and Dave Hansen, Exceleration Music is a music company designed to support artists, creators and entrepreneurs in the independent music space, including indie companies looking to grow or those seeking an “honorable exit” without betraying their values.
The Kill Rock Stars announcement follows several other recent deals struck by Exceleration, including the acquisitions of indie label Bloodshot Records and jazz label Candid Records, partnerships with Alligator Records and SideOneDummy, an alliance with the Justin Townes Earle estate and a partnership with the Ray Charles Foundation.
Beginning in 2006, Kill Rock Stars was led by Moon’s wife, Dr. Portia Sabin, who now serves as president of the Music Business Association. During her tenure, the label expanded its repertoire by releasing stand-up recordings from comedians including Cameron Esposito, W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu while continuing to sign musical artists including Horse Feathers, The Thermals and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. Following a move to Nashville in 2019, Moon took over leadership of the company and signed artists such as Big Joanie, Habibi, Logan Lynn, Bitch, MAITA, TEKE::TEKE and zannie.
In a statement, Moon said that through the Exceleration deal, Kill Rock Stars will “be able to do even more to support our artists while staying true to the core values KRS was founded on. This is a great situation for our current and future artists, as well as for the KRS catalog.”
Added Sabin, “I’ve known Glen, Amy, Dave, and Charles for years and I trust them to have the skills and knowledge as well as the best interests of our label and the independent marketplace at heart. I’m thrilled that Exceleration exists and provides an option for labels who want to stay independent at this time when there’s so much change in our industry.”
In his own statement, Exceleration partner Barros noted Kill Rocks Stars as “one of the quintessential indie labels” with a “wonderfully diverse imprint that defies definition but still manages to convey a crystal-clear identity.”
Exceleration partner Dietz shared her early fandom of the riot grrrl movement and the music of Elliott Smith, praising Kill Rock Stars for being “fierce advocates” for the independent community while “always remaining artist friendly, which aligns very much with our core values at Exceleration.”