Canadian Distributor RPM Abruptly Shuts Down

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Canadian distributor RPM has ceased operations, according to a letter to clients by company president Paul Herzog alerting them of the sudden closure.

"To all accounts," it read. "I regret to inform you that RPM Distribution will be closing all operations effective immediately. No orders will be processed moving forward and any existing orders in the system will be cancelled."

He continued, "All returns on site will be processed and credits will be provided. New returns will not be issued or accepted. Limited staff will be here to facilitate and oversee accounts payable/receivables and supplier returns."

The web site contains the release announcements as late as Jan. 4, Dec. 28, 21 and 14, but has not been updated since. On the home page, the slideshow features such vinyl albums as Springsteen on Broadway, Imagine Dragons' Origins, Grateful Dead compilation Skeletons From the Closet, Bryan Ferry and His Orchestra's Bittersweet, Siouxsie & the BansheesKaleidoscope reissue, The Tea Party’s Splendor Solis and Nicola Cruz’ Siku.

This closure is liable to create unforeseen issues for labels and record stores in Canada, says former RPM client Bryan Munn of Royal Cat Records in Guelph, Ontario. "Our big problem is that they were the main source of many labels, especially Universal, for whom RPM was our least expensive option for vinyl," he said in an email. "We can't get a direct account with Universal Canada unless I pledge to buy $100K annually from them. Thus we are forced to buy from middlemen for a good 1/3 of the popular product we sell. This closure puts the small shops across Canada in jeopardy, makes the marketplace less competitive, and threatens the longevity and health of the vinyl market here."

Herzog could not be reached for comment. RPM Distribution is based in Concord, Ontario, an industrial district, just north of Toronto.

UPDATE: This story was updated at 7:25 p.m. EST to include Munn's quote.