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Factory Records

Factory Records was a Manchester, England based record label, started in 1978 which featured several prominent musical acts, such as Joy Division, New Order, The Durutti Column, The Happy Mondays, and (briefly) James and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Like the label 4AD, Factory Records used a creative team (most notably record producer Martin Hannett and graphic designer Peter Saville) which gave the label, and the artists recording for it, a particular sound and image. The label employed a unique cataloguing process that saw every album, piece of art or item of property (including their famous nightclub The Haçienda and its resident cat) labelled with 'FAC' and an appropriate number (the nightclub was FAC 51; the cat was FAC 191).

Five partners founded Factory Records, each with 20% ownership:

  • Tony Wilson, television personality and pop impresario
  • Alan Erasmus
  • Peter Saville, graphic designer
  • Rob Gretton, Joy Division's manager (later New Order's manager)
  • Martin Hannett, record producer. Hannett acrimoniously left Factory in 1982 in the midst of a financial and legal dispute.

The 2002 film 24 Hour Party People (see 2002 in film), is an allegedly fact-based satire about Factory Records' people and bands, and the infamous, often unsubstantiated anecdotes and stories surrounding them.

The world-famous Manchester nightclub "The Haçienda" (FAC 51) was a Factory Records venture. It became a cultural hub of the emerging techno and acid house genres in the late eighties and early nineties. It closed in 1997 and has since been demolished to make way for city centre apartments.

Factory Records spawned a number of affiliated labels abroad, the most prominent of which was Brussels-based Factory Benelux.

It is worth comparing and contrasting the fortunes of Factory Records with their London based contempories, independent label Rough Trade run by Geoff Travis. Rough Trade signed Manchester's The Smiths in the early 80s, who, led by Morrissey, later went on to huge success, and helped to bring Manchester's amazingly creative music scene to a wider audience

Last updated on 2005-08-28 5:32:00 PM - 5:32:00 PM
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