James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy met while working in New York on the David Holmes album Let’s Get Killed. After the recording was completed, Goldsworthy stayed in New York, and the two began to throw parties in the Lower East Side. They wished to start a record label, but it was not until they met Jonathan Galkin, who subsequently quit his event-production job to run the label that it took off.

DFA Records began on a series of 12″ single vinyl releases starting with The Rapture’s “House of Jealous Lovers” and The Juan Maclean’s “By The Time I Get To Venus”. “House of Jealous Lovers” went on to sell 7500 copies. Many of the early releases of DFA’s catalog were released in Europe through Trevor Jackson’s Output Recordings. After completing production on The Rapture’s debut full-length album Echoes, DFA began to shop around the album. Although The Rapture eventually signed to Universal Music Group, the DFA label secured a deal with EMI for distribution of its acts outside the United States, along with several distributors within the U.S.

The label has grown steadily since, producing full-length albums for its ever-growing roster of artists, as well as releasing a selection of singles and compilations on their label. Notable releases include The Rapture’s EP “House of Jealous Lovers”, the twice-Grammy nominated debut of James Murphy’s band LCD Soundsystem and its follow-ups Sound of Silver and This Is Happening. DFA have also released a number of compilation albums featuring artists such as The Rapture, The Juan Maclean, Black Dice, Shit Robot, Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom, J.O.Y., Pixeltan, Black Leotard Front, Hot Chip, and LCD Soundsystem.

As a production team, the DFA have produced and remixed artists including Radio 4, Le Tigre, N.E.R.D., Soulwax, Blues Explosion, Nine Inch Nails, Automato, Gorillaz, UNKLE, The Chemical Brothers and M.I.A.. The DFA remix of M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” appeared on A. R. Rahman’s Academy Award-winning Slumdog Millionaire (soundtrack). They spent an afternoon writing a song with Britney Spears The production duo effectively came to an end when Tim Goldsworthy left New York and moved back to his native UK. The label is now primarily run by Jonathan Galkin and Kris Petersen.