THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC www.musicweek.com
“If the opportunity came up we could operate a bigger venue. We’re looking for sites”
“We’ve survived by remaining focused on the music we love. The market has moved to us”
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“What happens in the States is a template of what the UK can expect”
‘The year of the record store’ ROUGH TRADE BOSSES ASSESSING EXPANSION OPTIONS AFTER A BUMPER CHRISTMAS
RETAIL n BY TIM INGHAM
Music retailer Rough Trade is exploring opportunities to expand in the UK after posting record revenues for the festive period.
The business has predicted that 2014 will be the year that “the record store returns to the UK cultural and retail landscape”. - and having launched its first store outside of London in New York late last year, it could soon find itself leading the charge.
Rough Trade Retail Group posted a 20% like-for-like sales growth for the five weeks leading up to Christmas 2013. Online sales at RoughTrade.com saw a 47% increase year-on-year. Vinyl sales were up 45%, while CD sales were flat.
The business partly credited this growth to “unswerving strategy of adding value without resorting to discounting” despite others in the music retail world, including Amazon and supermarkets, running ‘bargain’ offers to entice shoppers.
“There’s no necessity or logic to price discounting when it’s possible to faithfully convey the value of recordings in their artefact form,” Rough Trade Retail co-owner Stephen Godfroy told Music Week. “The value of a sound file (download or stream) has rapidly matured, and as a result, overcoming digital format limitations is an increasingly prized purchase. This translates to independent music retailers like us being able
“The most exciting current example of a ‘disruptive technology’ in the music market is the independent record store” STEPHEN GODFROY, ROUGH TRADE RETAIL
to confidently convey the value of a relatively more engaging, rewarding and enduring form of music - the owned, held and cherished artefact. Both artefact and sound file have a place in the public's evolving relationship with music, but increasingly less at the expense of each other.
“The currency of competition for us is time, not money. The investment in taking time to visit us more often than not exceeds any monetary value we could return through price discounts.”
Godfroy said that contrary to pro-digital media-hype, “2013 illustrates how the most exciting example of a ‘disruptive technology’ in the music market is the independent record store”.
He added: “Now that our NYC store is finally open, we’re assessing opportunities to expand our presence across the UK.
“There are a number of UK cities that would welcome having an exciting music retail experience, so whether it’s us or another retailer that responds to that demand, 2014 is set to become the year when the record store returns to the UK cultural and retail landscape.”
His comments come in the week that HMV owner Hilco has shut a small run of stores, including the largest music shop in the world at 150 Oxford Street.
Godfroy was positive about his rival’s continued existence.
“HMV’s presence stabilises the market infrastructure through a period of market transition, where scale is best achieved digitally, and non-price values are best conveyed experientially,” he said.
Ticketmaster to announce EU expansion
Ticketmaster will announce a further strengthening of its European operation this week, sources have told Music Week - as it calls on the industry to help it fight ticket-snaffling ‘bots’.
It is understood that the Live Nation-owned company will announce news of an expansion into Belgium on Friday ( January
17) as well as a new MD in the territory. The news will be delivered in more detail by Ticketmaster International president Mark Yovich (pictured) during his keynote on the future of ticketing at Eurosonic Noorderslag in the Netherlands, Music Week understands.
Yovich is also set to reveal plans regarding the company’s digital ticketing platform and raise the curtain on a campaign calling for tough new sanctions against bots - automated online programmes used to get ahead of genuine consumers when tickets go on-sale. Bot-purchased tickets are then resold for vast profits by ‘scalpers’ on the secondary market. Some industry estimates suggest that as much as half of all tickets sold to some major music events are purchased by bots.
Ticketmaster announced last year that it was investing $100 million over three years in its own technology, which would help throttle the activity of bots.