I.R.S. Records  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

I.R.S. (International Record Syndicate) Records was a record label, started in the United States in 1979 by Miles Copeland III along with Jay Boberg and Carl Grasso. Miles was also the manager of Wishbone Ash, The Police, and later, Sting, as well as other bands. I.R.S. was the sister label of Copeland's Illegal Records (UK).

I.R.S. releases were distributed by A&M Records until 1985, by MCA Records until 1990, and finally by EMI (which bought the label in 1994) until the label folded in 1996.

Acts on I.R.S. included Wishbone Ash, English Beat, Nuclear Assault, R.E.M., Human Switchboard, The Cramps, Go-Go's, The Fleshtones, Oingo Boingo, Squeeze, Suburban Lawns, Over the Rhine, The Buzzcocks, The Alarm, Gary Numan, Wall of Voodoo, General Public, Belinda Carlisle, Camper Van Beethoven, Dread Zeppelin, Lords of the New Church, Fine Young Cannibals, Black Sabbath and Concrete Blonde. An instrumental-only imprint, I.R.S. No Speak, released albums by Wishbone Ash, Miles' younger brother Stewart Copeland (The Police) and William Orbit. I.R.S. also produced the feature film Shakes the Clown, which starred Bobcat Goldthwait. They released David Lynch and Alan R. Splet's soundtrack to Eraserhead in the 80s.

In 1985 Copeland brokered a deal to switch the label's distributor to MCA Records. Under the agreement, A&M continued to release the label's pre-1985 catalog, much of which still can be found under the A&M banner.

In 1990, the band Green Day included a mock letter from then-I.R.S. college radio rep Lori Blumenthal in one of their last cassette releases for Lookout Records. The fictional letter expressed IRS' interest in signing the band to the label. A mock reply letter from Lookout, also included in the cassette artwork, deemed I.R.S. a "cheesy" and "washed up" record label.

"I.R.S." stood for "International Record Syndicate" (or "Independent Record Syndicate" on some early releases); it should not be confused with the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. income tax agency. However, the logo did feature a shadowy figure wearing a trench coat, hat and dark glasses.

The last IRS release was the 1996 Buzzcocks CD All Set.

The Cutting Edge

From 1983 to 1987, I.R.S. Records sponsored a weekly MTV show called The Cutting Edge, hosted by Peter Zaremba of The Fleshtones. The series focused heavily on bands that recorded for the label.

I.R.S. Records - On The Charts

This was a 1994 compilation album that chronicled the acts of I.R.S. Records from 1979 to 1994.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "I.R.S. Records" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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