Through the years, I've owned a number of alblums released on 4AD, normally discovering this fact only after listening through the record a few times. One of the things that struck me as odd was their name.
Looking at their logo, it resembles the symbols placed on early CD
s, such as DDD
, which reflected the analogue
or digital status of 3 key phases of getting the music to your ears :
Now, for a CD, the 3rd letter is always D. In theory, the more Ds in the code, the better the sound. There were, however, a number of years after the initial introduction of CD players, when studio quality digital gear was wildly expensive, and out of the reach of all by the biggest studios. Bands that weren't wildly successful would often record at smaller, less expensive studios, and release ADD or AAD records, and most people couldn't really tell the difference.
Back to 4AD; if one imagines that the 4 stands for "recorded on a four-track
machine", things start to make sense. A four-track recorder is the cheapest way of doing multi-track recording available, and is often associated with garage band
s, underground music
and other music on the fringe. Given that most people wouldn't recognize even the more successful artists on the label, I think this is a reasonable and rational explaination.
...if nothing else, my ass feels better now that I just pulled this theory out of it