Rough Trade Records is an independent record label based in London. It was formed in 1978 by Geoff Travis who had opened a record store off Ladbroke Grove. Having successfully promoted and sold records by punk, very early indie pop and early post-punk bands such as Buzzcocks, The Smiths and Desperate Bicycles, Travis began to manage acts and distribute bands such as Scritti Politti and began the label, which was informed by left-wing politics and structured as a co-operative. Soon after, Rough Trade also set up a distribution arm that serviced independent retail outlets across Britain, a network that became known as the Cartel.
Interest and investment of major labels in the UK indie scene in the late 1980s, as well as overtrading on behalf of Rough Trade’s distribution wing, led to cash flow problems, and eventually to bankruptcy, forcing the label into receivership. However, Travis resurrected the label in the late 90s, finding success with The Libertines, The Strokes and Antony and the Johnsons.
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