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Rough Trade’s Stephen Godfroy on the future of music retail

By | Published on Tuesday 23 April 2013

Stephen Godfroy

In an interview with Billboard to coincide with last weekend’s Record Store Day, Rough Trade Retail’s Stephen Godfroy has spoken about the future of music retail as he sees it. Specifically, he notes the importance of recognising changes in the way people consume music and embracing them, rather then trying to block them out.

Godfroy said: “Music retail is volatile only so much as it’s in a perpetual state of flux, an eco-system so fragmented and complex, it defies generalisation. We now live in a post-digital era, where multi-format consumption morphs to reflect whichever offer is most relevant to each individual at any given time. Someone buys a smartphone, they then change their relationship with music accordingly. The same person then walks into Rough Trade, and they change their relationship with music once again”.

He continued: “There is no ‘all conquering’ format, behaviour, offer – it’s complementing and co-existing that matters. We recognise that our biggest competitive threat isn’t another music offer, it’s how people chose to spend their time. Our response is to create destination experiences that defy convention, that have no precedent, where purchase is just 1% of a much more rewarding, meaningful and memorable occasion”.

Earlier this year, Rough Trade launched a new digital service in partnership with The Guardian, which delivers subscribers a weekly selection of six MP3s, covering new releases as well as some exclusive tracks. The company, revealed Godfroy in the Billboard interview, is also readying a new service which will provide customers with MP3 downloads of physical releases bought in store immediately.

He explained: “Very soon, we’ll also be rolling-out our Rough Trade Card, which allows customers of our London stores to automatically enjoy download copies of the physical items they purchase in-store. Our tills marry the offline purchases with the customers online account, creating a seamless multi-format, multi-channel offer. It’s a world-first, developed by us, something we expect to prove very popular when we introduce into the US later in the year”.

Stephen Godfroy is one of the keynote speakers at this year’s CMU-programmed Great Escape convention in Brighton, kicking off two sessions focused on music retail on the first day of the proceedings on 16 May.