A Milestone For A Remarkable Label: Merge Turns 20

Listen Now

37:07
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/106561165/106561556" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
collage 300

This year, Merge Records, home to artists such as M. Ward, Neutral Milk Hotel, Spoon, The Magnetic Fields, and many more, celebrates its 20th anniversary. Mac McCaughn and Laura Ballance started the label in 1989, in Chapel Hill, NC. In the beginning they sold homemade cassette tapes from local record stores. If they made 50 sales, they were ecstatic. But today, Merge Records is one of the most revered labels in the business, with a large roster of remarkable talent. On this edition of All Songs Considered, host Bob Boilen talks with McCaughn and Ballance about the history of Merge Records, and how the label has thrived at a time when so many other labels are struggling.

Download this show in the All Songs Considered podcast.

Sign up for the All Songs Considered newsletter and we'll tell you when new music features are available on the site.

Register with the NPR.org community to join in our discussions.

Contact us with your questions and comments.

A Milestone For A Remarkable Label: Merge Turns 20

cover for bricks

Bricks

  • Artist: Bricks
  • Song: History of Lies
  • From: Microphone & a Box of Dirt
  • Add to Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/106561165/106560376" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Song
History of Lies
Album
Microphone & a Box of Dirt
Artist
Bricks
Label
Merge
Released
1992

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

cover for superchunk

Superchunk

  • Artist: Superchunk
  • Song: Cool
  • From: Tossing Seeds (Singles 89-91)
  • Add to Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/106561165/106560813" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Cool
Album
Tossing Seeds (Singles 89-91)
Artist
Superchunk
Label
Pony Canyon
Released
1992

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Cover for In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Neutral Milk Hotel

  • Artist: Neutral Milk Hotel
  • Song: Ghost
  • From: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
  • Add to Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/106561165/106560965" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Ghost
Album
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Artist
Neutral Milk Hotel
Label
Domino
Released
1998

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

cover for magnetic fields

Magnetic Fields

  • Artist: Magnetic Fields
  • Song: Come Back from San Francisco
  • From: 69 Love Songs
  • Add to Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/106561165/106560939" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Come Back from San Francisco
Album
69 Love Songs
Artist
Magnetic Fields
Label
Domino
Released
1999

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

cover for quasi

Various Artists

  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Song: Beautiful Things
  • From: Score! 20 Years of Merge Records
  • Add to Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/106561165/106561040" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Beautiful Things
Album
Score! 20 Years of Merge Records
Artist
Various Artists
Label
Merge
Released
2009

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Related NPR Stories

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.