Mute Records is one of the most influential, commercially successful, and long-lasting of the British independent record labels formed in the wake of the late-1970’s punk explosion. Yet, in comparison with contemporaries such as Rough Trade or Stiff, its legacy remains under-explored.
This edited collection addresses Mute’s wide-ranging impact. Drawing from disciplines such as popular music studies, musicology, and fan studies, it takes a distinctive, artist-led approach, outlining the history of the label by focusing each chapter on one of its acts. The book covers key moments in the company's evolution, from the first releases by The Normal and Fad Gadget to recent work by Arca and Dirty Electronics. It shines new light on the most successful Mute artists, including Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Erasure, Moby, and Goldfrapp, while also exploring the label's avant-garde innovators, such as Throbbing Gristle, Mark Stewart, Labaich, Ut, and Swans. Mute Records examines the business and aesthetics of independence through the lens of the label's artists.