For being one of the last remaining independent labels to produce breakout mainstream artists. Adele, M.I.A., and Beck are all on XL’s enviable current roster, but the label only signs one artist and releases a half-dozen records a year to maintain its high quality production. Keeping things small has paid off in big ways, like with Adele’s album, 21, which has sold more than 17 million copies since its release last January. In a throwback to the vintage days of A&R, XL’s handpicked talents speak–and sing–for themselves.FCS
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