Laurence Bell

Co-founder, Domino

Laurence Bell is the co-Founder of Domino Recording Co, headquartered in London, England. 

Domino Recording Co. was founded in 1993 in Bell’s home with little-to-no funding.

Bell later expanded DRC into Domino Music Group, an umbrella that contains Domino Recording Co., Domino Publishing Co., Double Six (a neighboring rights company), Geographic Music (a subsidiary label), Weird World (a subsidiary label), Ribbon Music, and The Domino Press.

Laurence Bell: Career history

Laurence Bell co-founded Domino Recording Co. with the following funding and equipment: a weekly £40 Enterprise Allowance Grant, underground American demos sent from friends, a phone, and a fax machine. Domino originally licensed American music for release in the UK.

For example, Domino’s first release was Sebadoh’s “Soul and Fire,” which only gained a few hundred sales. Domino’s business model remained nearly constant until the early 2000s. 

After 2000, however, Domino began to sign more British artists. Bell was able to attract and sign the up-and-coming band Franz Ferdinand, who was getting attention from major record labels. He also signed the band Arctic Monkeys around the same time period. Shortly thereafter, Franz Ferdinand released their album to critical and commercial success, selling a few million units. Franz Ferdinand’s next project skyrocketed to #1 on the UK charts, the first #1 album for Bell and Domino.

One month later, Arctic Monkeys dropped the lead single to their upcoming album. It likewise rose to #1 on the UK charts, notching the first #1 single for Domino. When Arctic Monkeys released their debut album, it became the fastest selling debut album of all time. The label continued to find success with new talent signees such as Anna Calvi and The Kills. 

Both Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand required small marketing budgets, with Domino taking advantage of word-of-mouth and fan hype. Their business model proved that small, independent music labels could still play on the same field as the major industry players. Bell and Domino’s newfound success allowed them to sign more up-and-coming talent, as well as already established bands like My Bloody Valentine. Domino has established itself as one of the most lucrative independent record labels. 

Over time, Bell transformed his label into Domino Music Group, which continues to add subsidiary labels and other entertainment focuses. Additional labels include Weird World and Ribbon Music, among others. DMG has also expanded into book publishing with The Domino Press. Music Business Worldwide

Laurence Bell In The News

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