In 1977, spurred by the prevailing DIY aesthetics of the British punk rock movement (then at the height of its popularity), they decided to join the fray as an independent label and release records under the Beggars Banquet imprint. The first band on the label was the English punk group the Lurkers; the first ever release on the label was the Lurkers' classic 7" single "Shadow"/"Love Story". They also released the first solo "Duffo" album from Australian big-band vocalist Jeff Duff, starting with the single "Give Me Back Me Brain", as performed live by Duffo on The Old Grey Whistle Test, The Russell Harty Show on ITV, and German-TV's Rock-Pop. Later in the decade and into the early 1980s, hits with Tubeway Army and Gary Numan secured the label's future. They have since released music by Biffy Clyro, Buffalo Tom, the Charlatans, the Carpettes, the Cult, Fields of the Nephilim, the Go-Betweens, the National and Tindersticks.
4AD, Matador Records, Rough Trade Records and XL Recordings are the four main labels that now form the group. The main offices are in the UK with a satellite office in New York City.