Indie Label Young Turks Changes Its Name to Remove Associations With Armenian Genocide

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An aerial shot of London, England, where indie label Young (formerly Young Turks) is headquartered. Photo Credit: Benjamin Davies

London-headquartered indie label Young Turks has officially rebranded as Young in an effort to remove associations with the Armenian Genocide.

The 15-year-old label (and Beggars Group subsidiary) announced the name change on social media, having already adopted the @young_ handle on Twitter and pivoted to the domain. Additionally, Caius Pawson, founder of Young Turks/Young, elaborated upon the decision in a statement.

“From today, Young Turks will become Young,” said Pawson. “The name change follows a long period of reflection and I wanted to explain the origins of the Young Turks name and the reasons for the change.

“We originally named Young Turks after the Rod Stewart song of the same name. When I first heard the song, it took a week of 2005-era internet searches to find out what it was and even longer to understand its meaning. The name intrigued me, evoking the solidarity of youth. In 2005, it seemed to perfectly sum up what we were: teenagers, wanting and waiting to do something, anything.

“However, we were unaware of the deeper history of the term and, specifically, that the Young Turks were a group who carried out the Armenian Genocide from 1915 onwards. Through ongoing conversations and messages that have developed our knowledge around the subject, it’s become apparent that the name is a source of hurt and confusion for people.

“We loved the name for what it meant to us, but in retrospect should have listened more carefully to other voices and acted more quickly. We have always tried to affect positive change and knowing what we do now, it’s only right that we change our name,” he concluded.

Plus, Young – which has signed acts including FKA Twigs and Kamasi Washington – noted that “April 24 is the day of commemoration of the 1915 Armenian Genocide” and stated that it had donated to the Armenian Institute, London.

At the time of this piece’s publishing, Beggars Group – which also encompasses XL Recordings, Rough Trade Records, and more – had retweeted Young’s name-change announcement but didn’t seem to have addressed the matter in a separate statement. Accordingly, it appears that the rebranding could have resulted solely from the reflection outlined by Pawson, as opposed to an order from company higher-ups.

Back in September, indie band Spirit Animal changed its name to Record Heat “in solidarity with the indigenous people whose lives and histories have been overturned and undermined,” while The Dixie Chicks last year became The Chicks.

Lastly, Grammy-winning country trio Lady Antebellum became Lady A in 2020, only to find that a Seattle-based blues singer had been releasing music under the title for north of three decades. Negotiations for the joint use of the name fell through, and the parties remain embroiled in a high-profile courtroom confrontation.