|Big Beat Records|
|Parent company||Warner Music Group|
|Country of origin||U.S.|
|Location||New York City|
Big Beat is an American electronic and dance music record label based in New York City. It was originally founded as an independent record label in 1987 by Craig Kallman with an emphasis on house music and, later, hip hop. It was absorbed into Atlantic Records in 1998, and eventually relaunched separately in 2010 as a primarily electronic music label. Its current roster includes Skrillex, Galantis, Chromeo, Cash Cash, David Guetta, and Clean Bandit.
The first iteration of Big Beat Records was founded as an indie label in 1987 by Craig Kallman who was, at the time, a 22-year-old deejay in New York. The company initially operated out of Kallman's bedroom where he recorded the label's first track, "Join Hands" by Tara Vhonty. That record sold 5,000 copies largely through direct promotion at record stores by Kallman himself.
The second record Kallman recorded in his bedroom studio was titled "The Party" by Kraze which would go on to sell 250,000 units in the United States and internationally. Soon after, Kallman began focusing on developing the record label, signing acts like Tara Kemp and Jomanda over the following 3 years. He would sell Kemp's contract to Giant Records in 1991. Also that year, Jomanda released a record entitled "Got a Love for You" on Big Beat which attracted the attention of Doug Morris, the Co-Chairman of Atlantic Records at the time. Atlantic acquired Big Beat and made Kallman the Vice President of A&R while he still operated Big Beat.
Over the course of the following 7 years, the label's roster shifted from primarily house music to more rap and hip hop. Big Beat Records signed a variety of artists including Mad Skillz,Changing Faces,Robin S.,Junior Mafia, Lil' Kim (both via the company's Undeas imprint),Artifacts,Art n' Soul,Double X Posse,Kenny Dope, Dawn Penn, Marshall Jefferson, Todd Terry,Quad City DJs, Percee P, and numerous others. In 1998, the label and its roster were absorbed into Atlantic Records. There was an attempt in 2001 to bring the label back, but it was abandoned.
Big Beat Records was relaunched under Atlantic Records as a dance-focused label in 2010. Artists on the label at the time of the relaunch included Skrillex, Chromeo,Wynter Gordon,Martin Solveig,Teddybears, and others. The relaunched label's first hit came in 2010 with Wynter Gordon's "Dirty Talk" which reached #1 on the ARIA singles chart and the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart and was certified triple platinum in Australia. Martin Solveig's song "Hello," which was released in 2011 in the United States, peaked at #46 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and at #1 on the Dance Club Songs chart while also achieving Platinum status from the RIAA.
Skrillex's Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP, released in 2010, effectively charted the label's trajectory toward electronic music. The EP sold hundreds of thousands of copies and its title track sold over 2 million copies and appeared on the Billboard Hot 100. At the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012, the EP was named the Best Dance/Electronic Album and its title track won Best Dance Recording. The following year at the 55th Grammy Awards, Skrillex again won Best Dance/Electronic Album for his Bangarang EP along with Best Dance Recording for the EP's title track which featured Sirah. He also won the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for his and Nero's remix of the Nero song, "Promises".
In 2013, Big Beat signed Icona Pop, a Swedish electropop duo that would go on to release the 4x Platinum "I Love It" featuring Charli XCX. The label also signed Cash Cash--whose 2013 single, "Take Me Home" featuring Bebe Rexha, was certified Gold-- and Galantis around that time. In December 2013, Big Beat's parent company, Warner Music Group, acquired Parlophone (a German-British record label). As part of the terms of the deal, David Guetta was added to Big Beat's roster.
In 2014, Clean Bandit released its album, New Eyes, on Big Beat. The lead single from the album, "Rather Be" featuring Jess Glynne, won the Grammy for Best Dance Recording at the 57th Grammy Awards in 2015. Liz Miller, Big Beat's General Manager in 2014, was named one of the "50 Most Important People in EDM" by Rolling Stone. In November 2014, David Guetta's first album with Big Beat, Listen, was released featuring the eventual double-platinum lead single "Hey Mama" featuring Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha, and Afrojack.
In 2015, Skrillex released a collaborative album with Diplo entitled Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü. At the 58th Grammy Awards in 2016, the album won the award for Best Dance/Electronic Album. Its lead single, "Where Are Ü Now" featuring Justin Bieber, won for Best Dance Recording. Galantis' 2016 single, "No Money" amassed nearly 700 million streams globally and charted on the Hot 100, Dance/Electronic Songs chart, and numerous other charts throughout the world.
In 2017, Big Beat executives, Craig Kallman and Gina Tucci, were listed among Billboards list of "Dance Power Players." Big Beat label mates Skrillex and David Guetta were also on the list. Also in 2017, Mixmag nominated Big Beat for the label of the decade.