When the Beatles sang of “four thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire” in their sublime 1967 song “A Day in the Life,” the puzzling lyric gave the northern English city its first music industry name-check. Now, one company is going a step further. For the past 17 years, Blackburn’s dance music specialist All Around the World has been quietly carving out one of the country’s most successful businesses of its kind, 227 miles north west of the fickle London scene.
The company began life as a record retailer, established by its managing director Cris Nuttall and director Matt Cadman. And while some things have stayed the same – the firm is still stationed above the record store – most other aspects have changed. AATW now encompasses the powerhouse compilations brand “Clubland” and its numerous spin-offs, a hit digital TV channel, a popular nationwide tour and now chart-topping artist album releases.
The company’s twice-annual “Clubland” compilation brand has proved to be the bedrock for the business. “It gets called ‘cheesy’ and ‘commercial dance music,’ or whatever disparaging comment is going around, but that’s what we’ve always loved, the more poppy end,” says Cadman.
But the series, now up to edition No. 13, has sold almost 4 million combined units. Each has turned-over sales of 220,000 to 440,000, says Cadman, and are regulars in the upper echelon of the Official U.K. Compilations Chart.
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