Aware Records was founded in 1993 by Gregg Latterman with the simple intention to find the best unsigned acts in the country and increase their national exposure through a compilation CD. A number of artists such as Hootie & the Blowfish, John Mayer, Matchbox Twenty, Train, and Five for Fighting would become defining rock artists of the 1990s and 2000s, therefore marking their appearances on Aware compilations as the jumpstart of their career.
By the time the eleventh and final compilation was released, several hundred thousand CDs had sold nationally. In fact, Aware II had matched the first year sales of Aware I of 20,000 copies almost overnight. The compilations marked a large disruption in the music discovery process, and we found ourselves wanting to support the artists on a larger scale.