The label was founded by musicians Gabriel Roth (a.k.a Bosco Mann) and Neil Sugarman in 2001 from the ashes of the former's earlier funk revival label Desco. It has become notable for it's Retraux aesthetic, with the use of vintage analog equipment in it's Brooklyn-based studio to record its albums and a sound that harkens back to the days of Motown and Stax.
Daptone is home to a variety of revival artists such as Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Charles Bradley, The Budos Band, The Manahan Street Band and more, who have won critical acclaim and Grammy nominations for their throwback sound and energy. The label has since expanded to incorporate reggae, gospel and rock artists as well.
Artists from the label have colaborated with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Bruno Mars, and rappers like Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar have sampled cuts from the label. Gamers may know them from their dedicated radio station in the Wide Open Sandbox crime game Sleeping Dogs, while the aforementioned Sharon Jones was seen performing "100 Days, 100 Nights" in the finale of Marvel's Luke Cage, and starred in a documentary about her battle with cancer entitled Miss Sharon Jones! Sadly, she passed away from a stroke in 2016.
Daptone currently runs 3 imprints: Wick, which specializes in retro rock, Ever-Soul, reissuing rare R&B recordings from independent labels, and Dunham, a subsidiary founded and run out of the bedroom of Thommas Brenneck.
Artists signed to Daptone Records include
- Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (Two of the principal artists of the label and perhaps the most well-known, with 2014's Give The People What They Want recieving a Grammy nomination. Their debut LP was also the first record released by Daptone.)
- Charles Bradley (Another famous singer from the label, who performed for 20 years before releasing his first single in 2002 and his first LP in 2011. Featured in the documentary Soul of America in 2012, and covered Black Sabbath's "Changes" in 2016. Passed away from stomach cancer in 2017.)
- The Budos Band
- The Sugarman 3 (featuring the aforementioned Neil Sugarman)
- The Menahan Street Band
- The Como Mamas
- Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens
- Saun & Starr
- The FRIGHTNRs
- The Mystery Lights