Mute Records is a record label formed in 1978 by Daniel Miller primarily to release his own single, "T.V.O.D."/"Warm Leatherette", under the moniker The Normal.
Mute Records made a name for itself as the label that was willing to sign post-punk artists like Fad Gadget (Frank Tovey's pseudonym), Einstürzende Neubauten, Throbbing Gristle, Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF) and Cabaret Voltaire. Once electronic music hit the British charts from 1981 onwards, Mute signed artists like Wire (band), Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb, Yazoo and Erasure that utilised new technology which would eventually redefine the sound of the dancefloor in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Mute redefined itself again to encompass alternative rock with bands such as Sonic Youth on their Blast First imprint. The label also in 1992 launched a subsidiary called Novamute Records, mainly as a distribution channel for experimental electronic music.
Mute Records was famous for being the home of Depeche Mode and Erasure despite the lack of what is normally considered a contract. Moby, Nick Cave and Laibach are also Mute mainstays.
The following albums released by Mute have been nominated for the Mercury Prize: We Can Create by Maps (2007), Coles Corner by Richard Hawley (2006), Felt Mountain by Goldfrapp (2000) and Soul Murder by Barry Adamson (1992).
Mute Records was the first British record label to have an internet presence, entitled Mute Liberation Technologies. This started out as a dial-up BBS, then becoming a Telnet site and finally a website. They continued to be run in tandem for a number of years until all were finally shut down, with the exception of the website.
On May 10, 2002, EMI acquired Mute Records, extending an existing licensing relationship that Mute had with EMI's Virgin Records for over 15 years. Daniel Miller, Executive Chairman, is responsible for all of the company's global activities.