Rough Trade Records GmbH and the embedded Rough Trade Distribution were established on 17 June 1983 in the city of Herne by the UK label Rough Trade, as joint venture with local distributor DPR (Dahlke Panschek Rüppik GbR) and the Kos Trading Warenhandelsgesellschaft GmbH.
Label Code: LC 5661
The original Rough Trade Records GmbH catalogue numbering system is as follows:
7" singles have RTD followed by a number starting with 0 (e.g. RTD 07),
12"s have RTD and a number starting with 0 and a T as suffix (e.g. RTD 06 T),
LPs have RTD plus number but no leading 0 (e.g. RTD 60),
CDs start with RTDCD or RTD CD, followed by a number (e.g. RTDCD 100 or RTD CD 90). The European CD editions, however, have RTD Number, followed by CD (e.g. RTD 72 CD).
All other numbers, e.g. M1-100, L2-25, CD1-244, S1-3001, etc. are internal depositary numbers/distribution codes ("Lagerstellennummern").
In the wake of the bankruptcy of the distributor Cartel in 1991, Rough Trade UK was also forced to file for bankruptcy. The German affiliate however survived and was taken over by Pinnacle and carried on thanks to lucrative ongoing and new distribution deals in the dance and electronic music genres, notably with Warp, Domino, 4AD and other labels from the UK and elsewhere. Rough Trade Records GmbH became the rights owner, while Rough Trade Distribution remained distributor. For the label activities, the label Our Choice was established.
In 1996 Rough Trade Records GmbH and Rough Trade Distribution were bought by the Zomba Music Group, coinciding with their take-over of Pinnacle Publishing.
In July 1999 Rough Trade Records GmbH was renamed Zomba Records GmbH and Rough Trade Distribution became Zomba Distribution - A Division of Zomba Records GmbH. See Zomba Records for releases under that name.
The old catalogue numbering (starting with RTD) was however continued under the new name, Zomba releases hence starting with the letters RTD, followed by 8 numbers with two dots. All additional numbers on regular releases should be ignored, since they are price codes.
Even though the company Rough Trade Records GmbH disappeared in 1999, the name Rough Trade continued to exist.
In 2002, Zomba was sold to BMG and Zomba Distribution GmbH was merged with Rough Trade BV (Benelux) and Pinnacle to form the "European Independent Distribution Pool" under the roof of BMG distributor arvato as Rough Trade Arvato.
In 2004, after the merger of BMG and Sony to Sony BMG, the name Rough Trade Distribution was reactivated as registered company "Rough Trade Distribution GmbH". Owner is Lambourne Productions GmbH, Gütersloh as part of the Zomba Record Holdings B.V.
In 2008, Rough Trade Distribution was again sold, this time to Groove Attack Productions to join forces in global music market struggle, with an ongoing cooperation with Arvato Services, being responsible for logistics and Sonopress being the pressing plant.