Rough Trade Records
Year Established: 1978 Genre Focus: Post Punk, Indie Pop, Underground Rock Website: www.roughtraderecords.com
The story of Rough Trade Records is an oldie but a goodie. In fact, the label itself is one of the oldest on our list, dating back to the dusty year of 1978. Prior to its inception, founder Geoff Travis successfully promoted and sold records by a number of punk, very early indie pop, and early post punk bands like The Smiths and Buzzcocks. At the time, Travis was also operating a record shop off Ladbroke Grove in London by the same name. This combination of a retail storefront presence and promotional experience ultimately led to the Rough Trade Records label. Once established, the new platform quickly setup a distribution arm that would service independent retail outlets across the UK, a network commonly referred to as the Cartel.
In the late '80s Rough Trade began experiencing severe cash-flow issues, which landed the label in bankruptcy, and eventually into receivership. After finding sizable success in the late '90s with bands like The Libertines, The Strokes and Antony and the Johnsons, Travis was able to restructure the label and as a result it still remains very active today. Rough Trade currently represents a deep pool of highly regarded indie and rock acts including Alabama Shakes, Arcade Fire, Destroyer, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, My Morning Jacket, Sufjan Stevens, The Hold Steady, The Libertines, and The Strokes.