Astralwerks’s “About Us” page is quite succinct:
Our story is an interesting one. Check back soon for some great reading.
The Astralwerks crew
This old Dancing About Architecture Essay has more colour:
Over the years, different labels have built their own myths. Some were known as artist labels, places where adventurous souls would be well cared for, such as Elektra 30 years ago, or Geffen following the signing of Sonic Youth. Others were places for bands to go when they should have retired, like CMC International Records, current home to .38 Special, Styx, and Christopher Cross.
SubPop was the best of a recent lot of labels that could be trusted. Co-founders Bruce Pavitt, Jonathan Poneman, and Jack Endino (myth has it) consciously created a Motown aesthetic. The SubPop bands were based in Seattle, as Motown’s were in Detroit. The bands subscribed to defined micro-genre, in this case a punk-meets-Sabbath school that later became grunge. The record sleeves all incorporated the same fonts and graphic style. Hell, people subscribed (still do) to SubPop singles club to get sent 7-inchers from a variety of artists mailed to them automatically.
Today, Astralwerks has assumed the throne of Most Important Label. I submit that no imprint today is more important to pop.via Dancing About Architecture.