Vagrant Records

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Vagrant Records
Vagrant Logo.svg
Parent companyBMG Rights Management
FounderRich Egan, Jon Cohen
Distributor(s)Warner Music Group[1]
GenreEmo, punk, indie rock, alternative rock, post-hardcore
Country of originUnited States
LocationSanta Monica, California

Vagrant Records is an American record label based in California.[2] It was founded in 1995 by Rich Egan and Jon Cohen. The label focuses on rock, but features artists in a variety of other genres including folk, soul, electronic, and pop. It is home to artists such as The 1975, Death Spells, Eels, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, CRUISR, Active Child, PJ Harvey, School of Seven Bells, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, James Vincent McMorrow, Black Joe Lewis, Wake Owl, Blitzen Trapper, and Bombay Bicycle Club. Originally, Vagrant Records was mostly focused on emo bands such as Dashboard Confessional, Saves the Day, The Get Up Kids, Senses Fail, and Alkaline Trio.

In 2014, Vagrant was acquired by BMG Rights Management.[3] Co-founder Jon Cohen then became BMG's executive vice president of recorded music,[4] until he left the company in September 2017.[5] It remains to be distributed autonomously (outside of BMG's main distribution partner Warner Music Group), by affiliated labels in selected countries.


The first band signed by Vagrant Records was Boxer and their album, The Hurt Process, released on May 5, 1998. The pop-punk album notably featured drummer Chris Pennie, who would go on to play with Dillinger Escape Plan and Coheed and Cambria.

The Get Up Kids[]

In 1999, Vagrant Records signed Kansas City, Missouri, band, The Get Up Kids, and the band's Vagrant debut, Something to Write Home About, was released in September 1999. Egan and Cohen borrowed $50,000 from Cohen's parents to fund the recording of the Get Up Kids album, derived from the mortgaging of the family house.[6] The album was wildly successful, and single-handedly made Vagrant Records one of the top independent labels in the country.[7][8]

Rapid growth[]

They signed Los Angeles punk rock trio Automatic 7 and released the band's 2nd album Begger's Life on July 25, 2000. They followed this by signing and releasing albums from heavyweights in the emo scene like Alkaline Trio, Saves the Day, and Dashboard Confessional. In June 2001, the label signed a distribution deal with JCOR Records, which in turn was distributed by Universal Records. It allowed Vagrant's releases to be available in stores via Universal's distribution methods. [9] In March 2002, the label made a distribution deal with Festival Mushroom Records, who would handled Vagrant's releases in Australia.[10] Vagrant would later enter into a deal with Interscope Records.[11] In June 2002, the label signed a deal with Motor Music, which handled distribution and promotion for Vagrant's releases in Germany.[12] Dashboard Confessional's video for Screaming Infidelities, directed by Maureen Egan and Matthew Barry, earned Vagrant the MTV2 award at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards.[13] Rich Egan is cited as saying the MTV Video Music Award win "changed everything" for the label.

Paul Westerberg[]

The label then went on to release solo material from The Replacements frontman, Paul Westerberg, signifying an initial departure from its roots of nineties punk and emo.[14]

Genre diversification[]

They soon signed Eels and released their album Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. In 2005, the label acquired New York City indie label Startime International, with whom they co-released albums from The French Kicks and The Futureheads. During that time, Vagrant signed The Hold Steady and The Lemonheads.

Poquito Records[]

In 2006, Vagrant formed a children's label imprint, , and released Vagrant artist The New Amsterdams' side-project The Terrible Twos' debut album If You Ever See an Owl.

Density Records[]

In 2007, Vagrant formed another imprint label, , which will release heavier material than has traditionally been released on the label.

On August 5, 2009, Rammstein, the Berlin-based industrial metal sextet, well known for its controversial and fiery live performances, signed a US marketing and distribution deal with Vagrant Records.[15]

Current bands[]

Former bands[]

See also[]

  • List of record labels


  1. ^ "Warner Music's Global Deal for BMG's Catalog Sets Up Showdown With RED".
  2. ^ Sacher, Andrew (May 19, 2021). "Vagrant Records launches 25th anniversary campaign w/ reissues, a podcast & more". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  3. ^ "US: BMG Acquires Vagrant Records". BMG Rights Management. November 17, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  4. ^ "BMG acquires Vagrant Records - Complete Music Update".
  5. ^ "Jon Cohen out at BMG".
  6. ^ Alternative Press Issue 204 "Say Goodnight, Mean Goodbye: The Oral History of The Get Up Kids"
  7. ^ Paul, Aubin, About Vagrant Records, Punk News, retrieved 2008-03-02
  8. ^ Grubbs, Eric (2008), Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore-1985-2007, iUniverse, pp. 224–266, ISBN 978-0-595-51835-7
  9. ^ White, Adam (June 29, 2001). "The Vagrant-gets-major-rumor is Not True!". Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  10. ^ White, Adam (March 4, 2002). "Vagrant in Oz". Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  11. ^ August, Justin (February 12, 2006). "Buddy Nielsen of Senses Fail". Aubin Paul. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  12. ^ White, Adam (June 18, 2002). "Vagrant installs one of those fancy German Motors". Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  13. ^ Heller, Greg (2000-09-10), Bands Seek Emotional Rescue, San Francisco Chronicle, retrieved 2008-03-02
  14. ^ (2012). "Exclusive: Paul Westerberg Returns On Vagrant". Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  15. ^ "Roadrunner Records Page Not Found". Roadrunner Records Official Website. Cite uses generic title (help)
  16. ^ "Vagrant signs John Ralston". Alternative Press. January 20, 2006. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  17. ^ "Protest The Hero sign to Vagrant, touring with the Fall Of Troy". Alternative Press. January 24, 2006. Retrieved June 27, 2016.

External links[]

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