Independent record store Rough Trade could benefit from HMV closures, says founder

 

Rough Trade, the pioneering independent record store, could open new outlets across the UK following the collapse of HMV, Geoff Travis, the company’s founder has suggested.

Travis, who opened the first Rough Trade shop in 1976 and went on to discover bands including The Smiths and The Strokes, said that outlets which offer a vibrant social experience for music-lovers, and revive the “tactile” thrill of physical music could thrive, after HMV went into administration.

Travis’s Rough Trade shop in West London, stocking the punk and reggae releases shunned by high-street chains, offered an alternative to HMV. But Travis, who became boss of the hugely-influential Rough Trade record label, regrets the failure of his former retail rival.

Restructuring specialist Hilco today took effective control of HMV, which has estimated debts of £176 million.

“There was no celebration from us,” he told The Independent. “We knew they were in trouble for a long time but they were a very important part of selling records in the UK for labels including Rough Trade. We need record stores in the world. We don’t want to live our lives online and be in our bedrooms 24 hours a day.”

Travis, 60, said: “I believe in a tactile relationship with a musical product. That means physical music. It’s a big reason why there’s been such a revival in vinyl.”

The warehouse-style Rough Trade East store in Brick Lane, London, where browsers are encouraged to watch live bands and enjoy a coffee, bucked the high street recession with sales up 8 per cent in the latest quarter. The brand is set to expand with a new store in New York.

The absence of high street music chains will create more opportunities for independents which adapt to customers’ changing demands, said Travis.

“There is a need for something, we feel. It would be great to do that in some other UK towns. It would be fantastic to have a store in Manchester and more around the UK.

“It’s possible we could open more, if people want that. But it’s better if people who have local knowledge in their own community do that.”

Travis added: “Our new store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn will open in the next 6 months when all the other record stores in New York have closed down.”

The secret of Rough Trade’s success is “the nature of the music we stock. And the people who run independent shops. They provide a meeting place, it’s a space to go and hear talks or see bands play for free.

“You can go there without spending any money. You can browse in a safe environment, whatever takes your fancy. It’s a great experience to go there and buy a drink and eat some cake.”

However Travis, who runs the Rough Trade record label whilst the shops are now managed separately, has no interest in “opening a chain of huge shops, not with the rent that’s charged and the financial covenants.”

Speaking from New York, where his latest hopefuls, London rock band Palma Violets, made their US debut, Travis accepts that “kids do not miss physical because they’ve never had it. We can’t be too sentimental.”

The record store can still be the place to discover the next Smiths. “We don’t have the John Peels anymore, a source you can trust. People would go into a shop to buy something mainstream and then chose to buy something new. If that shop’s not there, it’s never going to happen.”

Those stores will no longer be found in the middle of the high street though. “When we opened the first Rough Trade store in Kensington Park Road it was a place no-one ever came to. It took time before people realised we were there. People come and find you rather than plonking yourself down in the most obvious place.”

Rough Trade history

Cambridge graduate Geoff Travis opened the first Rough Trade store off Ladbroke Grove to sell crates of records he bought on a US trip.

Produced first record for a French punk band, launching record company and distribution chain in 1978.

First LP, Inflammable Material by Stiff Little Fingers, became the first independently released album to sell over 100,000 copies in the UK.

Rough Trade signs The Smiths in 1983, heralding golden age of “indie-pop”.

Distribution over-reach causes Rough Trade to collapse in 1991 with all assets sold off.

Travis revives label in 2000 and enjoys renewed success with The Strokes and The Libertines.

5,000 sq ft flagship store opens in Brick Lane in 2007 luring downloaders with vinyl, free gigs and coffee shop

Arts and Entertainment
Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)

comedy

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Yaphett Kotto with Julius W Harris and Jane Seymour in 1973 Bond movie Live and Let Die

film
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment

film
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England