Jagjaguwar is an American independent record label based in Bloomington, Indiana, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin.[1] Jagjaguwar is a label included in Secretly Group, which also includes Secretly Canadian and Dead Oceans. Secretly Group includes the three record labels [2] as well as a music publisher known as Secretly Publishing, representing artists, writers, filmmakers, producers, and comedians.[3]

Founded1996 (1996)
FounderDarius Van Arman
Distributor(s)Secretly Distribution
Country of originUnited States
LocationBloomington, Indiana
Official websitejagjaguwar.com


In 1996, in Charlottesville, Virginia, University of Virginia sixth-year senior Darius Van Arman, Jagjaguwar founder, was a music director at UVA’s WTJU radio station, a clerk at Plan 9 Records, art director at Charlottesville’s C-Ville Weekly, an overnight supervisor for an adult-care facility, and booking shows at The Tokyo Rose.[4][5]

During this time, a friend, Adam Busch (who also would put music out on Jagjaguwar as Manishevitz), was part of a band called The Curious Digit.[6][7][8] The band needed a label, and Van Arman made The Curious Digit's ‘Bombay Aloo’ the first release under his new Jagjaguwar label.[9][10] The name Jagjaguwar was generated using a Dungeons & Dragons character name-generating computer program.[11] Shortly thereafter, Richmond band Drunk learned about Jagjaguwar and Drunk member Rick Alverson reached out to Van Arman to see if there was room for one more band on the label.[12] He booked them to play at Tokyo Rose and then signed them to the label on the spot.[13][14]

In 1999, Van Arman and Chris Swanson, who was part owner of the record label Secretly Canadian, became friends and soon partners. Fairly early on in those exchanges, Van Arman suggested a partnership in Jagjaguwar.  [15]

Van Arman relocated to Bloomington in 1999, and Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian grew closer. Van Arman soon became a partner in Secretly Canadian, and other Secretly Canadian partners, Ben Swanson and Jonathan Cargill, joined Van Arman and Chris Swanson in a Jagjaguwar partnership.[16] [17]

Jagjaguwar introduced their partnership with Oneida via a split 7-inch record with Secretly Canadian artist Songs: Ohia.[18] In 2001, a demo from Austin, Texas based folk band Okkervil River was sent Chris Swanson.[19]

With each Okkervil River release on Jagjaguwar—its debut ‘Don't Fall In Love With Every One You See’ (2002), ‘Down The River of Golden Dreams’ (2003), ‘Sleep and Wake-Up Songs’ (2004) and ‘Black Sheep Boy’ (2005), the band’s profile leapt forward.[20] [21] Interestingly, much of ‘Black Sheep Boy’ was written at Van Arman’s house in Bloomington when Will Sheff stayed with him for some months.[22][23]

Alongside Okkervil River’s releases, Jagjaguwar also released the debut album from Vancouver band Black Mountain.[24][25] Following Black Mountain’s debut, Jagjaguwar signed more artists to the label including Wilderness, The Besnard Lakes, and Sunset Rubdown.[26][27][28]

In 2007, Jagjaguwar signed Eau Claire, Wisconsin project Bon Iver (lead by Justin Vernon), whose self-recorded album ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ (2008) had seen a grassroots groundswell based off just a handful of CD-R copies Vernon was selling at shows.[29][30][31] The initial pressing of ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ sold out within the first few weeks.[32] ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ received a sales certification of Gold in 2012, the same week Bon Iver's self-titled follow up album, ‘Bon Iver’, went gold.[33][34] That album, released in June 2011, also led to two Grammy wins for Bon Iver — Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album. During his Grammy’s speech in February 2012, Vernon thanked Jagjaguwar “for having transparency and friendship."[35][36][37] Vernon also collaborated with other Jagjaguwar artists (Sharon Van Etten, Lia Ices) and brought his other collaborative projects to the Jagjaguwar roster (Volcano Choir, GAYNGS).[38][39][40][41][42]

Soon, more artists signed with the label including Sharon Van Etten, Small Black, Foxygen, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Women, Preoccupations, and Angel Olsen.[43]

Van Etten released her Jagjaguwar debut, Tramp, in 2012 and her second album, Are We There, in 2014.[44][45] Unknown Mortal Orchestra signed to Jagjaguwar to release their sophomore album II (2013).[46] In spring 2015, they released another album, Multi-Love, which won multiple awards.[47][48]

In 2012, Jagjaguwar was awarded the American Association of Independent Music's (A2IM) Label of the Year.[49]

In 2007, the addition of Dead Oceans to Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar’s partnership led to the formation of Secretly Group. In 2015, Secretly Group began a partnership with The Numero Group as well.[50][51]

In 2018, Jagjaguwar was listed as #4 on Paste Magazine's top 10 record labels of 2018. Dead Oceans was listed as #7 and Secretly Canadian was listed as #8. [52]


Sales certifications

Grammy Awards

  • Bon Iver Bon Iver, Bon Iver - Best Alternative Music Album (2012, won)
  • Bon Iver "Holocene" - Record of the Year (2012, nominated)
  • Bon Iver "Holocene" - Song of the Year (2012, nominated)
  • Bon Iver - Best New Artist (2012, won)
  • Bon Iver 22, A Million - Best Alternative Music Album (2017, nominated)
  • Bon Iver 22, A Million - Best Recording Package (2017, nominated)

A2IM Libera Awards (US)

  • Okkervil River I Am Very Far (Deluxe Edition) - Creative Packaging Award (2012 finalist)
  • Bon Iver Bon Iver, Bon Iver - Independent Album of the Year (2012 won)
  • Bon Iver "Holocene" - Independent Video of the Year (2012 finalist)
  • Jagjaguwar - Independent Label of the Year (2012 won)
  • Angel Olsen Burn Your Fire Fore No Witness - Up and Comer Award (2014 won)
  • Viet Cong - Breakthrough Artist of the Year (2015 finalist)
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra Multi-Love - Groundbreaking Album of the Year (2016 finalist)
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra Multi-Love - Album of the Year (2016 finalist)
  • Bon Iver 22, A Million - Album of the Year (2017 finalist)
  • Angel Olsen MY WOMAN - Album of the Year (2017 won)
  • Bon Iver 22, A Million - Best Live Act (2017 finalist)
  • Angel Olsen MY WOMAN - Best Live Act (2017 finalist)
  • Sharon Van Etten (2016 Volvo XC90 TV Commercial) - Best Sync Usage (2017 finalist)
  • Bon Iver 22, A Million - Creative Packaging (2017 finalist)
  • Jagjaguwar - Label of the Year (2017 WON)
  • Bon Iver 22, A Million - Marketing Genius Award (2017 finalist)
  • Angel Olsen "Shut Up Kiss Me" - Video of the Year (2017 finalist)

Brit Awards (UK/Global)

  • Bon Iver - Best International Male Solo Artist (2012 nominated)
  • Bon Iver - Best International Breakthrough Act (2012 nominated)
  • Bon Iver - Best International Male Solo Artist (2017 nominated)

Aim Independent Music Awards (UK)

  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love - Independent Track of the Year (2015 nominated)

Polaris Music Prize (Canada)

Juno Awards (Canada)

  • Black Mountain In The Future - Alternative Album of the Year (2009 nominated)
  • Julie Doiron - I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day - Alternative Album of the Year (2010 nominated)
  • Preoccupations - Viet Cong - Alternative Album of the Year (2016 nominated)

New Zealand Music Awards

  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra II - Album of the Year (2013 nominated)
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra II - Best Alternative Album of the Year (2013 WON)
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra "So Good At Being In Trouble" - Single of the Year (2013 nominated)
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Best Male Solo Artist (2013 nominated)
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra Multi-Love - Album of the Year (2015 nominated)
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra Multi-Love - Best Alternative Album of the Year (2015 WON)
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra "Multi-Love" - Single of the Year (2015 nominated)
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Best Male Solo Artist (2015 nominated)

Taite Music Prize (New Zealand)

  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra II (2014 shortlist)
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra Multi-Love (2016 shortlist)

Apra Silver Scroll Award (New Zealand)

  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra "Multi-Love" - Ruban Nielson, Kody Nielson songwriters (2015 WON)

See also


  1. "Secretly Group". secretlygroup.com. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  2. "Secretly Group". secretlygroup.com. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  3. "Secretly Publishing". Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  4. "RA: Jagjaguwar - Record Label". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  5. Inc, CMJ Network (June 1998). CMJ New Music Monthly. CMJ Network, Inc.
  6. Margasak, Peter. "Can You Hear Him Now?". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  7. "'We need to believe what we're working on is making the world better'". [PIAS]. 2016-11-09. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  8. "Jagjaguwar: the indie label roaring to success". www.musicweek.com. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  9. "Amazing Radio". amazingradio.com. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  10. Zausen, Leo. "Label Fables: Jagjaguwar". WVAU. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  11. "Jagjaguwar: the indie label roaring to success". www.musicweek.com. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  12. dahancb (2011-06-24). "Jagjaguwar – Ben Dunnavant". Center of the Indie Label Universe. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  13. "Playback editorial by RX Music". RX Music. 2014-12-18. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  14. "Rich Tarbell". Rich Tarbell. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  15. Locke, Greg. "Long-term relationships and independent rock". NUVO. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  16. "Numero Group Joins Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian". www.recordoftheday.com. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  17. "Jagjaguwar Interview". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  18. "Jason Molina". Jason Molina. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  19. "Not so Secretly Canadian". Indiana Daily Student. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  20. "The History of Rock Music. Okkervil River: biography, discography, reviews, links". www.scaruffi.com. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  21. Sanneh, Kelefa (2005-04-09). "The Song of the Hyperliterary". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  22. Coplen, Katherine. "Heartbeat: Okkervil River's Will Sheff". NUVO. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  23. "Will Sheff, Okkervil River Go the Distance with 'I Am Very Far'". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  24. ""This time we knew where to go" - An Interview with Black Mountain [GoldFlakePaint]". GoldFlakePaint. 2016-04-14. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  25. "Black Mountain: Black Mountain". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  26. "Wilderness: Wilderness". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  27. ed11 (2007-10-09). "SUNSET RUBDOWN: Random Spirit Lover [Jagjaguwar]". Magnet Magazine. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  28. Blau, Max. "The Besnard Lakes". undertheradarmag.com. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  29. "Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  30. Levy, Piet. "How Bon Iver's 'For Emma, Forever Ago' changed Justin Vernon's life, Wisconsin and the world". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  31. Caramanica, Jon (2011-06-03). "Who, What and Where is Bon Iver?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  32. Nierenberg, Jacob (2018-02-16). "Forgoing the parables: The legacy of Bon Iver's 'For Emma, Forever Ago'". The Stanford Daily. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  33. "Bon Iver Goes Gold: Both LPs Cross 500k Sales Milestone in Same Week". Spin. 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  34. "Both Bon Iver albums went gold in the same week, validating sensitive dudes everwhere". News. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  35. Judkis, Maura (2012-02-13). "Bon Iver's Best New Artist win confuses Grammy viewers". Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  36. Lee, Amy (2012-02-13). "Bon Iver Wins Best New Artist, Feels Conflicted About It". HuffPost. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  37. "Bon Iver wins GRAMMY for Best New Artist". GRAMMY.com. 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  38. Mescher, Daniel. "Review: 'Ices,' Lia Ices". Colorado Public Radio. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  39. "Bon Iver's Justin Vernon Covered Sharon Van Etten's "Love More"". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  40. "Watch: Sharon Van Etten and Justin Vernon perform together in Minneapolis". Consequence of Sound. 2014-07-17. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  41. "Watch Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, Sharon Van Etten Perform A Duet". pastemagazine.com. 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  42. "Watch Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, the National's Dessners Cover Sharon Van Etten's "Love More"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  43. "Bloomington's Record Label: Jagjaguwar". Indianapolis Monthly. 2018-06-01. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  44. "Sharon Van Etten: Are We There". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  45. "Sharon Van Etten: Tramp". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  46. "Unknown Mortal Orchestra Sign to Jagjaguwar, Share New Single". self-titled. 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  47. Nast, Condé. "Ruban Nielson Traveled the World to Make the New Unknown Mortal Orchestra Record". GQ. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  48. "Review: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, 'Multi-Love'". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  49. "11th Annual Independent Music Awards Winners Announced!". Independent Music Awards. 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  50. "Numero Group Joins Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Dead Oceans in Newly Formed 'Secretly Label Group' (Exclusive)". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  51. "Numero, Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian come together as Secretly Label Group". FACT Magazine: Transmissions from the underground. 2013-06-24. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  52. "The 10 Best Record Labels of 2018". pastemagazine.com. 2018-12-31. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  53. South
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