Originally, "Righteous Babe" was simply a couple of words Ani Difranco put on homemade copies of her first album. However, with her increasing success, Righteous Babe Records grew into tour-promotion, merchandise distribution, and, most importantly, music distribution. For years, Righteous Babe had a roster of one; in 1996 Utah Phillips joined that roster for a collaborative effort with Ani, and three years later, Arto Lindsay and Kurt Swinghammer released records with Righteous Babe. Sara Lee, Sekou Sundiata, Drums & Tuba, and Bitch and Animal have since released records of their own, bringing the roster to eight.
Righteous Babe Records has also gained some media attention for its local-friendly business practices. As a native of Buffalo, New York, Ani witnessed the gradual economic deflation of the city as industry moved out of the rust belt. When it came time to think about merhcandising, Ani opted to keep the money put towards t-shirts, flyers, posters, and other promotional material in Buffalo by patronizing local businesses. This, in turn, made her a darling of the local chamber of commerce (or so the story goes). Either way, it's a fine example of progressive business practices.