Secretly Canadian

Secretly Canadian is an American independent record label based in Bloomington, Indiana,[1] with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin.[2] Secretly Canadian is a label included in Secretly Group, which also includes Dead Oceans and Jagjaguwar.[3] Secretly Group includes the three record labels as well as a music publisher known as Secretly Publishing, representing artists, writers, film makers, producers, and comedians.[4]

Secretly Canadian
Secretly Canadian logo.png
Founded1996 (1996)
FounderChris Swanson
Ben Swanson
Eric Weddle
Jonathan Cargill
Distributor(s)Secretly Distribution
Country of originU.S.
LocationBloomington, Indiana


Secretly Canadian was founded in 1996 by Chris and Ben Swanson, Eric Weddle, and Jonathan Cargill while they attended Indiana University.[5] The Swanson brothers, originally from Fargo, North Dakota, decided to move to Bloomington after a Billboard article painted the Midwestern college town's scene as the next Seattle and an incubator for up-and-coming bands.[6][7][8]

Before Secretly Canadian was founded, Chris Swanson and Eric Weddle met in 1995 as sophomores involved in Indiana University's campus radio station, WIUX.[9] Then Chris met Jonathan Cargill through a job at the Collins Living-Learning Center cafeteria on campus.[10] Soon after, Chris' younger brother Ben Swanson moved to Bloomington to earn his undergraduate degree[11] from the Jacobs School of Music in ethnomusicology.[12][13]

In 1996, Secretly Canadian was founded out of the Swansons' house. They had little experience and spent months researching how to make a CD.[14]

The label's first official release was a re-issue of an album by June Panic from Grand Forks, North Dakota; the Glory Hole CD.[15] The second release in 1997 was Jason Molina's, under the Songs: Ohia moniker, often referred to as "The Black Album".[16] After the Swanson brothers tracked down Molina's email address and drove hours to Molina's in-store gig at Adult Crash in New York.[17][18] After signing Molina, the record label became more popular in the indie music scene.[19]

Secretly Canadian then signed other notable early releases, including Marmoset and Swearing At Motorists.[20]

Weddle soon left to form label Family Vineyard – and later followed by Cargill as well.[21] After that, Chris Swanson and Darius Van Arman became friends in 1999 and Secretly Canadian joined forces with Van Arman's Jagjaguwar.[22][23]

The early 2000s yielded reissues from Swell Maps, Nikki Sudden, and Danielson.[24] Damien Jurado, the Seattle singer-songwriter, made his way to Secretly Canadian in 2002.[citation needed] Two years later, Jens Lekman joined the label's roster.[25]

Anohni also signed to the label in the 2000s.[26][27] Formerly known as Antony and the Johnsons earlier in her career, the Swanson brothers became enamored with Antony and the Johnsons’ self-titled debut from 2000. Antony and the Johnsons’ first record with Secretly Canadian, I Am a Bird Now, released in 2005, sold 100,000 copies in the first two months.[28][29][30]

Secretly Canadian then signed The War on Drugs, the Philadelphia-based band whose third record,[31] Lost in the Dream, struck as both a critical and commercial success in 2014.[32] Secretly Canadian also began a partnership with Chimera Records in the form of Yoko Ono's reissues beginning in 2016,[33] and the debut release from William Eggleston, in 2017.[34] Secretly Canadian's roster also includes Cherry Glazerr, Whitney, Alex Cameron, Joey Dosik, Stella Donnelly, Faye Webster, and serpentwithfeet, among many others.[35]

In 2007, the addition of Dead Oceans to Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar's partnership led to the formation of Secretly Group.[36] In 2015, Secretly Group began a partnership with The Numero Group as well.[37][38]

In 2018, Secretly Canadian was listed as #8 on Paste Magazine's top 10 record labels of 2018. Jagjaguwar was listed as #4 and Dead Oceans was listed as #7.[39]


Notable awards and honorsEdit


  • 2015, Secretly Canadian, Label of the Year (finalist)[40]
  • 2014, Secretly Canadian, Label of the Year (finalist)[41]


  • 2014, Secretly Group – Independent Label of the Year (nominated)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Secretly Canadian Artists Cover Each Other On CD". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  2. ^ "Secretly Group". Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  3. ^ "Secretly Group". Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  4. ^ "Secretly Publishing |". Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  5. ^ "Info". Secretly Canadian. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  6. ^ by (2018-03-27). "Scratch Entrepreneur #23 - Secretly Canadian". Shine Insurance Agency. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  7. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (1996-05-04). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
  8. ^ "Info". Secretly Canadian. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  9. ^ "Secretly Canadian: A Local Success Story". WIUX. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  10. ^ "Not so Secretly Canadian". Indiana Daily Student. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  11. ^ admin (2012-08-13). "An Interview with Ben Swanson, Partner/A&R Secretly Canadian". Seagate Blog. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  12. ^ "Chris Swanson Interview | Co-Founder of Secretly Group & Music Supervisor of Wild Wild Country". Pop Disciple | Film Music & Music Supervision Interviews | Music in Media News. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  13. ^ Locke, Greg. "Long-term relationships and independent rock". NUVO. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  14. ^ "Not so Secretly Canadian". Indiana Daily Student. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  15. ^ "June Panic". Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  16. ^ "A Jason Molina Primer". Vinyl Me Please. 2018-04-18. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  17. ^ "Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. Has Died, Label Confirms". Spin. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  18. ^ "We're All Supposed To Try | Jason Molina & The Magnolia Electric Co". GoldFlakePaint. 2014-08-28. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  19. ^ Blau, Max. "Jason Molina's long dark blues". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  20. ^ "Secretly Canadian – MusicBrainz". Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  21. ^ Locke, Greg. "Long-term relationships and independent rock". NUVO. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  22. ^ "Jagjaguwar: the indie label roaring to success". Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  23. ^ "'We need to believe what we're working on is making the world better'". [PIAS]. 2016-11-09. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  24. ^ "Secretly Canadian – MusicBrainz". Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  25. ^ "Jens Lekman Will See Himself Now". Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  26. ^ "Tracking Anohni's Avant-Garde Evolution on Stage". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  27. ^ Pareles, Jon (2016-04-21). "Anohni: Embracing a New Name, and Sound". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  28. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (2005-09-24). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
  29. ^ "Antony and the Johnsons: I Am a Bird Now". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  30. ^ "The Quietus | Features | A Quietus Interview | An Intimate Portal: Antony Hegarty Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  31. ^ "The War on Drugs: Future Weather EP". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  32. ^ "The War on Drugs sign to Atlantic Records". Consequence of Sound. 2015-06-12. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  33. ^ "Yoko Ono Announces Reissue Project". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  34. ^ "William Eggleston, Godfather of Color Photography, to Release First Music Album". Observer. 2017-09-01. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  35. ^ "Secretly Canadian Complete Artist Roster". Ranker. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  36. ^ "Secretly Group restructures A&R and publishing teams; adds new hires". Music Business Worldwide. 2018-12-06. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  37. ^ "Numero Group Joins Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Dead Oceans in Newly Formed 'Secretly Label Group' (Exclusive)". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  38. ^ "Numero, Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian come together as Secretly Label Group". FACT Magazine: Transmissions from the underground. 2013-06-24. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  39. ^ "The 10 Best Record Labels of 2018". 2018-12-31. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  40. ^ Houghton, Bruce (May 5, 2015). "A2IM Names Libera Indie Music Award Nominees". Hypebot.
  41. ^ Houghton, Bruce (June 11, 2014). "A2IM Names Libera 2014 Independent Music Nominees". Hypebot.

External linksEdit