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Paul Quirk, ‘Prime Mover’ Behind Record Store Day UK, Dies at 71

Tributes have been paid to former Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) chairman Paul Quirk, who has died aged 71 following a short battle with cancer.

LONDON – Tributes have been paid to former Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) chairman Paul Quirk, who has died at age 71 following a short battle with cancer.

Quirk was chairman of ERA over three separate periods, beginning in 2007. His longest continuous reign at the helm of the trade group, which represents U.K. retailers of music, video, DVD and computer games, was from 2009 to 2014. Following a year off, he returned to the organization in 2016 when he served as co-chairman for a year.

Alongside Spencer Hickman and Steve Redmond, Quirk is credited as one of the main drivers behind the launch of Record Store Day (RSD) in the U.K., which took place for the first time in 2008. Paying tribute, ERA CEO Kim Bayley said the British music retail sector owed a heavy debt to Quirk.

“Not only was he a strong and passionate voice for music retailers for more than three decades, he was the longest-serving chairman of ERA itself, a prime mover behind Record Store Day in the U.K. and a mentor to countless people across the industry,” said Bayley. “He will be missed right across the business for his enthusiasm, humour and passion for record retailing.”


In addition to serving as ERA chair, Quirk ran a chain of five independent record stores in the North West of England alongside his brother Rob for several decades.

Like many indie retailers, the business struggled to survive the transition from physical to digital music sales with the last of Quirk’s music stores closing in 2008.

Another string to Quirk’s bow was a regular column that he wrote for British trade publication Music Week in the 1990s entitled Paul’s Quirks. The retailer joined the ERA board in 1997 and became deputy chairman in 2003, serving under Steve Knott, then managing director of HMV’s U.K. and Ireland business.

“A more genuine, knowledgeable, dedicated and warm person you could not wish to meet,” said Knott in a statement. He said Quirk would be sorely missed.


In 2008, Quirk was presented with a special recognition award for services to music retailing at the Music Week Awards.

“He was a passionate supporter of the indie record store sector, a huge driving force behind Record Store Day, but most importantly a loyal mentor and friend to me personally,” said RSD U.K. coordinator Megan Page. “I’m so sad and will miss him dearly.”