Rough Trade Escapes Capture by Universal Music Group; Our Lives as Consumers Continue Unfettered, Terrorists Officially Lose

Have you ever passed by beggars on the street corner and wondered if they’re really just eccentric billionaires who spend the first few hours of their days making multi-million dollar wheelings and dealings before spending their leisure perpetrating jokes of conscience on us unsuspecting, middle-class sidewalk-trudgers??

Well, if you have, then first of all, you’re a cynical, cold-hearted prick. I mean, come on, man! These people are fucking destitute!

Second of all, you’d actually be on to something, because earlier this week, the hallowed Rough Trade record label (home to The Smiths, Destroyer, Super Furry Animals, The Long Blondes, etc.) was purchased by the independent record group Beggars Group for £800,000, which figures to be roughly $1,400,000. And you thought that they all just bought drugs with that pocket change!

The iconic record label was owned by UK record group Sanctuary Group, who, in a pretty darn Old Testament Biblical move, apparently had the good sense to wrap the legendary label in a warm blanket, put it in a basket, and float it on down the metaphorical Nile to the promise of a better life before the struggling music group itself is purchased by power-hungry Universal Music for £104.3 million in the coming days.

The Beggars group, already the proud poppa of such iconic indie labels as Beggars Banquet, Matador, XL, and 4AD, seemed happy to take in Sanctuary’s 49% ownership of their erstwhile baby for the aforementioned £800,000, despite the not-so-cute £3 million loss that the label had racked up. Now that’s love.

Rough Trade owner Geoff Tarvis, who founded the label in 1978, has touted the transition as entirely positive and hopes that the label can now reach “a worldwide level of stability and expertise.” And odds are good that Mr. Tarvis will indeed be saying sooth, as Rough Trade will soon benefit from the Beggars Group’s hefty distribution power, which makes, in addition to making me personally mad as hell that I spent all of that money on that Albert Hammond Jr. import (TMT Review), is sure to make all of the label’s releases easier to find in the U.S. And isn’t our ease of record browsing what’s REALLY important in all of this?!

So, the next time you see a beggar on the street, stop, shake his or her filthy hand, and tell him or her “thankyou” for doing his or her part to help further indie-rock by making that Jarvis Cocker 12-inch a tad bit easier to find. But don’t you DARE give that rich-ass one red cent of your pocket change!

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