In a surprise move, physical music retailer Rough Trade has partnered with streaming giant Apple Music as a music curator.
The arrangement will see the independent retail chain provide artist recommendations via exclusive playlists on the service, a move Rough Trade describes as “breaking down the borders between physical and digital formats”.
It follows anecdotal evidence that music fans are buying physical product based on streaming sampling.
“Today’s music lover increasingly listens in multiple ways, streaming for convenience whilst choosing to own and cherish favourite recordings on vinyl,” said Rough Trade director Stephen Godfroy. “Launching as a curator on Apple Music to champion the most exciting new music that’s available to stream and purchase on vinyl makes a lot of sense for both artists (and labels), and most importantly for the fans.”
The Apple Music Rough Trade Edit playlist is the indie retailer’s weekly pick of new and recent releases. Rough Trade Edit also exists in podcast from, where listeners have the chance to go deeper behind the music with artist interviews.
“If you’re seeking trusted, expert recommendation of exciting new music on vinyl, whatever your taste, Rough Trade Edit is the go-to reference, now on Apple Music and Apple Podcasts, the playlist helps listeners to 'try before you buy,' whilst the podcast enables fans learn more about the music by listening to our staff discuss the music in more depth, along with some of the artists themselves,” said Godfroy. "Additionally, any visitor in a Rough Trade store can Shazam whatever music happens to playing in the store that moment and be presented with a direct link to subscribe to the Rough Trade Edit Playlist on their phone."
Rough Trade said that 2019 sales were up 25% year-on-year.