After releasing records with 4AD for a large part of their career, Cocteau Twins decided to take a step towards independence and started up the Bella Union record label, through which they could release their own work as well as any collaborative efforts. The band split up not long after, but instead of letting the newly formed label go under, Robin Guthrie, Cocteau Twins’ founder and lead guitarist and Simon Raymonde, the band’s bassist since 1984, decided to take charge of it. One of the earliest bands to sign on was the Australian trio Dirty Three, who continue to release under Bella Union to this day. Other early signees include Françoiz Breut and The Czars. The label fosters bands from a variety of musical genres and is notable for the amount of freedom given to its artists. Since 2000, when Guthrie moved to France to concentrate on his own music and Raymonde took the reins at Bella Union, the label has signed more artists like Laura Veirs, Lift To Experience, Explosions In The Sky etc. In 2006 the label had a memorable year with Midlake, The Dears, Howling Bells, and Fionn Regan all having great success, and in 2007 as the 10th anniversary celebrations saw them host two nights at the Royal Festival Hall, with special guests Paul Weller, Romeo and Tom from Editors, the year was capped off by Fionn Regan being nominated for a Mercury Prize Best Album Of The Year. In 2008 and 2009, with the phenomenal success of their discovery of Fleet Foxes, which remained in the chart for 100 weeks consecutively, and was the biggest selling independent album of the year, gave the label their first Platinum selling disc. The label has sold over half a million sales to date

With subsequent releases from Beach House, Department of Eagles, Lone Wolf, Our Broken Garden, Fleet Foxes, The Acorn, Abe Vigoda, J. Tillman, Peter Broderick, The Kissaway Trail, Pearly Gate Music, John Grant, Lawrence Arabia, The Low Anthem, Hannah Cohen, Laura Veirs and Mountain Man the future is very bright for this unique artist-run label. Label founder Simon Raymonde is also in demand as a producer, mixing Fionn Regan’s Mercury-nominated debut, and the seminal Lift to Exerience album, the first two Duke Spirit albums, Stephanie Dosen’s A Lily For The Spectre, and the forthcoming album by Lucas Renney, ex-Golden Virgins singer, featuring members of Midlake and Stephanie Dosen’s band.

The label won the 2010 Independent Record Company Of The Year at the Music Week Awards. Previous winners XL Recordings, Rough Trade Records, Domino Records, Ministry of Sound.

In 2010, Bella Union entered the USA market, working in partnership with the Yep Roc Music Group who will act as the label’s background team in North America. In 2010, Bella Union released records from The Acorn, Lawrence Arabia, Midlake, John Grant (with Midlake), Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds and Lone Wolf among others.

In 2011, Bella Union released debut records from a number of new artists as well as highly anticipated new albums from the likes of The Low Anthem, Explosions In The Sky and Fleet Foxes.