Storied U.K. indie Rough Trade Records has linked with the World's Fair Label Group to license and market select titles for North American release, Billboard.biz has learned. World's Fair releases are handled by EMI's Caroline Distribution, but the distribution channel for Rough Trade releases is not set. Initial Rough Trade/World's Fair offerings include the solo offering from Pulp Frontman Jarvis Cocker, "Jarvis," as well as "Beatific Visions" from indie rockers BrakesBrakesBrakes, who were previously known as the Brakes.
Rough Trade has recently been without a strong U.S. presence, which was blamed in part on the recent financial troubles of part owner Sanctuary Records. Yet the latter announced at the end of 2006 that it was looking to sell its 49% stake in the label after Rough Trade was likely to record an unexpected loss before tax of roughly £2.8 million ($5.3 million) for the year to Sept. 30, all of which will be absorbed by Sanctuary. By linking with World's Fair, Rough Trade will avoid having to license off key releases to other labels, and will finally bring U.S. distribution to albums that had already been issued overseas. Cocker's "Jarvis," for instance, was released in the U.K. last November.
A spokesperson for World's Fair says release dates have not yet been set, but the company is looking to get its first batch of albums out in April or May. In addition to Cocker and BrakesBrakesBrakes, other spring releases will come from British Sea Power, the Veils' "Nux Vomica" and the debut from Scottish rockers the 1990s.
Founded in 1978, Rough Trade has been associated with such acts as the Strokes, Super Furry Animals, the Arcade Fire and the Libertines, among many others. In linking with World's Fair, Rough Trade joins a label group that already includes acclaimed hip-hop imprint Definitive Jux as well as indie rock label Bella Union Records, which is home to Midlake and the Czars, among others. World's Fair also provides management and marketing duties for a host of artists, ranging from the Flaming Lips to El-P.