Formed in London in 1990 by Matt Black and Jonathan More, the duo known as Coldcut, Ninja Tune has established itself as one of the world’s leading independent record labels, etching its story into the pages of ground-breaking British music. Now a bonafide global music institution, synonymous with diverse, uncompromising releases and equally visionary artists—from breaking to GRAMMY-winning acts—committed to pushing the boundaries of music.
The label has celebrated a number of significant events in recent years including multiple notable GRAMMY nominations for Bonobo (who now has five to his name), Jayda G, PVA and via Brainfeeder—with who Ninja Tune have a longstanding partnership to release, promote and distribute their incredible and ever-expanding catalogue worldwide—Hiatus Kaiyote, and Thundercat (who took home the GRAMMY for ‘Best Progressive R&B Album’ for his 2020 album ‘It Is What It Is’). The label has also released Top 5 UK charting albums from Bicep (who were also BRIT nominated), Bonobo and Black Country, New Road (whose debut album was also Mercury nominated), relaunched it’s Big Dada imprint as a label run by Ninja Tune’s Black, POC & Minority Ethnic staff, and entered into a new partnership with ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective (FFC) to release, promote, and distribute their expansive catalogue worldwide. Ninja Tune has also made a commitment to becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2021 and carbon negative beyond that
In the 30-plus years since formation, Ninja Tune has become a home for forward-thinking music and artists who are at the forefront of their fields, with celebrated releases from the likes of: Bonobo, The Cinematic Orchestra, Roots Manuva, Kelis, Jayda G, Young Fathers, Bicep, Floating Points, Black Country New Road, Little Dragon, Sampa The Great, Run The Jewels, Diplo, Helena Hauff, Actress, Coldcut, Peggy Gou, Julianna Barwick, Jordan Rakei, Maribou State, ODESZA, Tycho, Leon Vynehall, I. JORDAN, The Bug, Marie Davidson, TSHA, 박혜진 Park Hye Jin & via Brainfeeder, Thundercat, Kamasi Washington, Hiatus Kaiyote, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Ross From Friends and many more.
Still 100% independent, the label has consistently defied expectations for both critical and commercial acclaim—manifesting itself with recognition as ‘Independent Label of the Year’ at the 2018 Association of Independent Music (AIM) awards, ‘Label of the Year’ at the 2016 edition of Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards and most recently a nomination for ‘Label of the Year’ at the 2021 Libera awards. Chart positions include nearly 20 Top-40 records in the official UK Albums Chart including a #2 record with Bicep’s ‘Isles’, #4 for Black Country, New Road’s ‘For the first time’ and a #5 spot for Bonobo’s GRAMMY nominated ‘Migration’, with ODESZA’s ‘A Moment Apart’ (also GRAMMY nominated) reaching #3 in the US Billboard Album Charts. Other impressive results include Mercury Prize wins for Young Fathers album “Dead” (2014) and Speech Debelle’s “Speech Therapy” (2009) and three BRIT nominations for Bicep and Roots Manuva.
Having risen to prominence with the release of their 1987 remix of Eric B and Rakim’s, ‘Paid In Full’—bringing their underground sound to the mainstream—Coldcut founded Ninja Tune in 1990 as an independent outlet for their own productions and like-minded left-field artists. The label's early releases were all produced by Coldcut, and primarily consisted of instrumental sample-based cuts, spawning a number of celebrated albums including the first five volumes of DJ Food's “Jazz Brakes”. The critical acclaim that followed saw the duo become noted pioneers of the instrumental hip hop scene that coalesced the following years. Launched around the same time, the seminal Ninja Tune club night Stealth—named Club of the Year by NME in 1996—ran regular events with guests that included Squarepusher, James Lavelle and many artists from the label roster.
Ninja Tune have also established or worked with a number of additional groundbreaking labels over the years, including Big Dada. The label was originally founded in 1997 as one of the UK’s prominent early hip-hop labels, and helped launch the careers of homegrown legends Roots Manuva, Kae Tempest and Young Fathers, as well as thrusting US behemoths such as Diplo and Run The Jewels into the wider global consciousness. In 2021 Big Dada relaunched as a label run by Black, POC & Minority Ethnic Ninja Tune staff members for Black, POC & Minority Ethnic artists, championing new artists across the musical spectrum whilst continuing to tip its hat to the foundations that built its legacy. In 2022 Big Dada & Ninja Tune partnered with The Southbank Centre to launch the Emerging Music Professionals Course, aiming to develop the next generation of diverse producers, promoters and programmers in the music industry.
Alongside this, Ninja Tune’s Counter Records imprint has masterminded commercial success with artists such as ODESZA, The Heavy, San Holo, Kasbo, Maribou State and more. Seriously shaping the sound of emerging music scenes the world over, impressive Counter Records milestones include breaking 1 million sales of The Heavy’s celebrated single ‘How You Like Me Now’ and 500,000 sales of ‘Say My Name’ by ODESZA.
Ninja Tune’s Technicolour imprint has also made waves in recent years, working with prominent underground figureheads like Octo Octa, DJ BORING, VTSS, Minimal Violence, Umfang, Elkka and Sofia Kourtesis to name a few.
The label also began working with Flying Lotus legendary Brainfeeder in 2010, with releases that include the GRAMMY award-winning Thundercat, Kamasi Washington, Hiatus Kaiyote, Ross From Friends, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Jaga Jazzist and more.
More recently, Ninja Tune announced an exciting new partnership with ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective (FFC). The deal, which came after many years of close collaboration between the two independent labels, sees Ninja Tune releasing, promoting, and distributing FFC’s expansive catalogue worldwide, while FFC will work alongside Ninja Tune to expand the FFC mission of supporting musicians and artists alike.
By nature, the label is continually looking for new and innovative ways to develop its artists' visions, having grown from the brainchild of the two-man Coldcut team to a living, breathing organisation boasting 70+ employees based across the world including a North American headquarters in LA. It has encouraged interactive technology, embraced the audio-visual world, created its own publishing company, Just Isn’t Music, and made innovative use of software with the creation of Ninja Jamm and the Zen Delay—the first-ever hardware effects unit produced in collaboration with an electronic music label.
Ninja Tune also devotes time and resources to working on non-profit initiatives to support the community around them and also to develop a dialogue with their audiences on relevant social issues. From Coldcut’s early partnerships with Greenpeace and others to the label’s involvement with the Independent Music Cup, XLP/Arts Emergency, MIND, Help Refugees, and ongoing donations to organisations like Fair Fight and Extinction Rebellion this has been in Ninja’s DNA since inception. The label recently announced that they are committed to becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2021 and carbon negative beyond that.
NINJA TUNE - NOMINATIONS & AWARDS
2023 Bonobo - Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for 'Fragments'
2023 Bonobo - Best Dance/Electronic Recording for 'Rosewood'
2023 ODESZA - Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for 'The Last Goodbye'
2023 Louis Cole - Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals for 'Let It Happen' (Brainfeeder)
2022 Bonobo & Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Best Dance/Electronic Recording for 'Heartbreak' (OUTLIER)
2022 PVA - Best Remixed Recording for 'Talks' (Mura Masa Remix)
2022 Hiatus Kaiyote - Best Progressive R&B Album for 'Mood Valiant' (Brainfeeder)
2021 Thundercat - Best Progressive R&B Album for 'It Is What It Is' (Brainfeeder) - Winner
2021 Jayda G - Best Dance Recording for 'Both Of Us'
2021 Flying Lotus - Producer of the Year for 'It Is What It Is' (Brainfeeder)
2020 Georgia Anne Muldrow - Best Urban Contemporary Album for ‘Overload’ (Brainfeeder)
2020 Bonobo - Best Dance Recording for ‘Linked’
2020 Marie Davidson - Best Remixed Recording for ‘Work It’ (Soulwax Remix)
2018 ODESZA - Best Dance / Electronic Album for ‘A Moment Apart’
2018 ODESZA - Best Dance Recording for ‘Line Of Sight’
2018 Bonobo - Best Dance / Electronic Album for ‘Migration’
2018 Bonobo - Best Dance Recording for ‘Bambro Koyo Ganda’
The Mercury Prize
2021 Black Country, New Road - 'For the first time'
2014 Young Fathers - ‘Dead’ - Winner
2014 Kae Tempest - ‘Everybody Down’
2009 Speech Debelle - ‘Speech Therapy’ - Winner
2004 Ty - ‘Upwards’
2002 Roots Manuva - ‘Run Come Save Me’
Ivor Novello Awards
2019 Young Fathers - Best Album for ‘Cocoa Sugar’
2016 Roots Manuva - Best Contemporary for ‘Cargo’
A2IM Libera Awards (USA)
2022 Ninja Tune - Label of the Year (Big)
2022 Bicep - Marketing Genius for 'Isles'
2022 Thundercat - Best Reissue for 'The Golden Age of Apocalypse (Ten Year Anniversary Edition)"
2022 Hiatus Kaiyote - Best R&B Record for 'Mood Valiant' - Winner
2022 Black Country, New Road - Breakthrough Artist/Release for 'For the first time'
2022 박혜진 Park Hye Jin - Best Electronic Record for ‘Before I Die’ - Winner
2021 Ninja Tune - Label Of The Year (Big)
2021 Thundercat - Record Of The Year for 'It Is What It Is' (Brainfeeder)
2021 Thundercat - Best R&B Record for 'It Is What It Is' (Brainfeeder)
2021 Actress - Best Dance/Electronic Record for 'Karma & Desire'
2018 Ninja Tune - Label Of The Year (Big)
2017 Bonobo - Best Dance/Electronica Album for 'Migration' - Winner
2017 Bonobo - Album Of The Year for 'Migration'
2017 Bonobo - Video Of The Year for “Kerala"
2017 Bonobo - Best Creative Packaging for ‘Migration’
2017 Thundercat - Album Of The Year for ‘Drunk’ (Brainfeeder)
2016 Kamasi Washington - Album Of The Year for ‘The Epic’ (Brainfeeder)
2016 Kamasi Washington - Best Breakthrough Artist for ‘The Epic’ (Brainfeeder)
2016 Kamasi Washington - Groundbreaking Album Of The Year for ‘The Epic’ (Brainfeeder) - Winner
2016 Kamasi Washington - Heritage Album Of The Year for ‘The Epic’ (Brainfeeder) - Winner
2016 Brainfeeder - Label Of The Year (Small)
2012 Amon Tobin - Creative Packaging Award for 'Control Over Nature' (CD/Book) - Winner
BBC Radio 1 Dance Awards
2022 TSHA - Dance Album Of The Year for 'Capricorn Sun' - Winner
2022 Bonobo - Electronic Chill Track of the Year for "Rosewood"
2022 TSHA - Electronic Chill Track of the Year for "The Light"
2022 Barry Can't Swim - Electronic Chill Track of the Year for "God Is The Space Between Us"
2022 Barry Can't Swim - BBC Introducing Dance Artist Of The Year
2022 I. JORDAN - Dance Impact Award
2021 Bicep - Dance Album Of The Year for 'Isles' - Winner
2021 Anz - Dance Track Of The Year for "You Could Be (feat. George Riley)"
2021 Elkka - BBC Introducing Dance Artist Of The Year - Winner
2021 TSHA - Breakthrough Artist Of The Year - Winner
2021 Anz - Breakthrough Artist Of The Year
2021 I. JORDAN - Breakthrough Artist Of The Year
2021 Elkka - Essential Mix Of The Year - Winner
2021 I. JORDAN - Mini Mix Of The Year for ‘Go Large’ Mini Mix - Winner
The AIM Independent Music Awards
2022 Ninja Tune - Best Independent Label
2022 Anz - Best Independent Track for "You Could Be" (ft. George Riley)
2022 Black Country, New Road - Best [Difficult] Second Album for ‘Ants From Up There’
2022 Ross From Friends - Best [Difficult] Second Album for ‘Tread’
2022 Barry Can’t Swim - One To Watch
2021 I. JORDAN - UK Independent Breakthrough
2021 박혜진 Park Hye Jin - International Breakthrough
2021 Bicep - International Breakthrough
2021 Jayda G - International Breakthrough - Winner
2021 Bonobo & Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Track Of The Year for 'Heartbreak' (OUTLIER)
2021 Leon Vynehall - Best [Difficult] Second Album for 'Rare,Forever'
2021 Bicep - Best [Difficult] Second Album for "Isles'
2021 Thundercat - Best Independent Remix for 'Fair Chance' (Floating Pints Remix) (Brainfeeder)
2021 TSHA - One To Watch
2020 Marie Davidson - Best Remix for ‘Work It (Soulwax) Remix’
2020 Bicep - Breakthrough Of The Year
2020 Floating Points - Best [Difficult] Second album for ‘Crush’
2020 Floating Points - International Breakthrough
2019 Maribou State - Best [Difficult] Second Album for ‘Kingdoms In Colour’
2019 Maribou State - International Breakthrough
2019 Jordan Rakei - Album Of The Year for ‘Origin’
2018 Ninja Tune - Label Of The Year - Winner
2018 Peggy Gou - Track Of The Year for ‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’ - Winner
2018 Young Fathers - Album Of The Year for ‘Cocoa Sugar’
2018 Leon Vynehall - Video Of The Year for ‘Movements - Chapter III)’
2018 Bicep - Track Of The Year for ‘Glue’
2017 Bonobo - Best Video Of The Year for ‘No Reason’
2016 Roots Manuva - Track Of The Year for ‘Don’t Breathe Out’
2016 Roots Manuva - Album Of The Year for ‘Bleeds’
2016 Ninja Tune - Label Of The Year
2015 Ninja Tune - Innovator Award - Winner
2015 Young Fathers - Best [Difficult] Second Album for ‘White Men Are Black Men Too’ - Winner
2015 Young Fathers - Hardest Working Band & Album Of The Year
2015 The Bug - Album Of The Year for ‘Angels & Devils’
2014 Bonobo - Best Live Act & Hardest Working Band
2014 Young Fathers - International Breakthrough Of The Year
2014 Actress - Album Of The Year for ‘Ghettoville’
2014 Kae Tempest - Album Of The Year for ‘Everybody Down’
2014 Ninja Tune - Label Of The Year
2013 Bonobo - Best Live Act
2013 Bonobo.- Special Catalogue Release Of Year for ‘The North Borders’
2012 Speech Debelle - Best [Difficult] Second Album for ‘Freedom Of Speech”
2012 The Invisible - Best [Difficult] Second Album for ‘Rispah”
2012 Lorn - Genre Spotlight Award
2012 Amon Tobin - Special Catalogue Release Of The Year for ‘ISAM’
2012 Ninja Tune - Label of The Year
2011 Ninja Tune - Innovative Marketing Campaign of the Year for ‘Ninja Tune XX’ - Winner
2011 Toddla T - Best [Difficult] Second Album for ‘Watch Me Dance’
2011 Ninja Tune - Best Catalogue Release of year for ‘Ninja Tune XX’
UK Music Video Awards
2022 Ross From Friends - Best Dance/Electronic Video newcomer for 'The Daisy' - Winner
2018 Young Fathers - Best Artist - Winner
2018 Young Fathers - Best Editing In A Video for ’Toy’
2018 Young Fathers - Best UK Alternative Video for ’Holy Ghost’
2018 Leon Vynehall - Best UK Alternative Video for ’Movements (Chapter III)’
2017 Bonobo - Best UK Dance Video for ‘No Reason’ - Winner
2017 Bonobo - Best Production Design In A Video for ‘No Reason’ - Winner
2017 Bonobo - Best UK Dance Video for ‘Kerala’
2017 Bicep - Best UK Dance Video for ‘Aura’
2017 Young Fathers - Best UK Alternative Video for ‘Mr Martyr’
2015 DELS - Best Urban Budget Video for ‘Burning Beaches’ - Winner
2011 DELS feat Roots Manuva & Joe Goddard - Best Urban Budget Video for 'Capsize’
2011 DELS - Best Urban Budget Video for ‘Trumpalump’
2009 Speech Debelle - Best Independent Budget Video for ‘The Key’ - Winner
2008 Cinematic Orchestra - Best Cinematography for ‘To Build A Home’
Gilles Peterson Worldwide Awards
2020 Sampa The Great - Track Of The Year for ‘Final Form’ - Winner
2017 Jameszoo - John Peel Play More Jazz Award (Brainfeeder) - Winner
2016 Ninja Tune - Label Of The Year - Winner
2015 Kamasi Washington - Album Of The Year for ‘The Epic” (Brainfeeder) - Winner
2013 Brainfeeder - Label Of The Year - Wnner
2006 Bonobo - Album Of The Year for ‘Days To Come” - Winner
2003 Ty - Album Of The Year for ‘Upwards’ - Winner
2002 The Cinematic Orchestra - Release Of The Year for ‘Everyday’ - Winner
1999 The Cinematic Orchestra - Release Of The Year for ‘Motion’ - Winner
2020 Sampa The Great - Wood Pencil Winner for ‘Final Form’ Video
2019 Young Fathers - Graphite Pencil Winner for ‘Cocoa Sugar’ Graphic Design
2017 Bonobo - Wood Pencil Winner for ‘No Reason’ Production Design For Video
2016 Amon Tobin - Wood Pencil Winner for ‘Dark Jovian’ Graphic Design
2013 Lorn - Wood Pencil Winner for ‘Ask The Dust’ Graphic Design
2009 The Cinematic Orchestra - Graphite Pencil Winner for ‘To Build A Home’ Video
1999 Roots Manuva - Best Hip Hop Act - Winner
The BRIT Awards
2021 Bicep - British Group
2021 Bicep - Breakthrough Artist
2003 Roots Manuva - British Urban Act
Scottish Album Of The Year Awards
2018 Young Fathers ‘Cocoa Sugar’ - Winner
2016 Young Fathers ‘White Men Are Black Men Too’
2015 Young Fathers ‘Dead’
2014 Young Fathers ‘Tape Two’ - Winner
ARIA Awards (Australian Recording Industry Association Awards)
2020 Sampa The Great - Best Female Artist ‘The Return’ - Winner
2020 Sampa The Great - Best Independent Release ‘The Return’ - Winner
2020 Sampa The Great - Best Hip Hop Release ‘The Return’ - Winner
2020 Sampa The Great - Best Album ‘The Return’
2020 Sampa The Great - Best Live Act
2019 Sampa The Great - Best Hip Hop Release ‘ Final Form” - Winner
2019 Sampa The Great - Best Video ‘Final Form’
Australian Music Prize
2019 Sampa The Great - Album of The Year ‘The Return’ - Winner
2017 Sampa The Great - Album Of The Year ‘Birds and the BEE9’ - Winner
2017 Jordan Rakei - Album Of The Year ‘Wallflower’
Music Victoria Awards (Australia)
2020 Sampa The Great - Best Album for ’The Return’ - Winner
2020 Sampa The Great - Best Solo Artist - Winner
2020 Sampa The Great - Best Soul, Funk, Gospel or R&B Album for ’The Return’ - Winner
2020 Sampa The Great - Best Song for ‘OMG’ - Winner
2019 Sampa The Great - Best Hip Hop Act - Winner
2019 Sampa The Great - Best Australian Act - Winner
Juno Awards (Canada)
2001 Kid Koala - Best Alternative Album for ‘Carpal Tunnel Syndrome’
Polaris Music Prize (Canada)
2019 Marie Davidson - ‘Working Class Woman’
2006 Cadence Weapon - ‘Breaking Kayfabe’
Edison Pop Prize (Holland)
2015 Martyn - “Air Between Worlds’ Best Dance Album - Winner
Art Vinyl Best Art Vinyl Award
2022 Black Country, New Road - 'Ants From Up There' - Winner
2022 Bonobo - 'Fragments'
2021 Bicep - 'Isles'
2021 Ross From Friends - 'Tread' (Brainfeeder)
2020 Machinedrum - A View of U
2020 Thundercat - 'It Is What It Is' (Brainfeeder)
2019 Sampa The Great - 'The Return'
2019 Floating Points - 'Crush'
2019 Denis Sulta - 'Aye Spoake Te Sumwuhn & They Listenhd'
2019 A Winged Victory for the Sullen - 'The Undivided Five'
2018 Young Fathers - 'Cocoa Sugar' - WINNER
2018 Peggy Gou - 'Once' EP
2018 Georgia Anne Muldrow - 'Overload' (Brainfeeder)
2017 Bonobo - 'Migration'
2017 Bicep - 'Bicep'
2017 Actress - 'Azd'
2015 Lapalux - 'Lustmore' (Brainfeeder)
2014 The Bug - 'Exit'
2014 Young Fathers - 'DEAD' (Big Dada)
2014 Kae Tempest - 'Circles' (Big Dada)
2013 Bonobo - The North Borders - WINNER
2013 Ras G - Back on the Planet (Brainfeeder)
2012 Lorn - Ask the Dust
2010 Roots Manuva Meets Wrong Tom - 'Duppy Writer' (Big Dada)
2008 Roots Manuva - 'Smile & Reason' (Big Dada) - WINNER
2006 Roots Manuva - Alternately Deep (Big Dada)
2006 Spank Rock - YoYoYoYoYo (Big Dada)
Making Vinyl Awards
2019 Jayda G - ‘Best Save The Earth’ Release for 'Significant Changes' - Winner
Interactive Music Awards
2002 Ninja Tune - Best Label - Winner
Electronic Music Awards
2017 Bonobo - Album of The Year for ‘Migration’ Winner
2017 Bonobo - Live Act Of The Year
2017 ODESZA - Producer Of The Year
Echo Music Prize (Germany)
2015 Kamasi Washington - Best Jazz Instrumentalist - Winner
Selected ‘Ninja Tune Label’ Press Awards
2021 21 Best Record Labels Of 2021 (Mixmag)
2019 Top Labels Of The Decade (Dancing Astronaut)
2018 Labels That Defined 2018 (Clash)
2018 10 Best Labels (Tsugi, France)
2017 Labels Of Year (Pigeons & Planes)
2017 #1 Label Of The Year (Mixmag)
2017 Labels Of The Decade (Mixmag)
2017 #1 Label Of The Year (DJ)
2017 Labels Of The Year (XLR8R)
2016 Labels Of The Year (Billboard)
2015 Labels Of The Year (Bleep)
2014 Labels Defining The Sound Of The Year (Guardian Guide)
2014 Labels Of The Year (Resident Advisor)
2011 10 Best Labels (Observer)
2010 Labels Of The Year (Resident Advisor)
2010 #1 British Label Of The Year (DJ)
2008 Labels Of The Year (Independent)
2000 Labels Of The Decade (Time Out)
1996 #1 Club Night Of Year for ‘Stealth’ (NME)
1992 Label Of The Month (Mixmag)