Catalog numbering used by the first incarnation of the label:
Singles/EPs were numbered sequentially (001 to 247) with following prefixes:
RT###: 7" singles, early 12" singles and some 10" singles
RTT###: later 12" singles and some 10" singles
RTT###CD: CD singles
RTM###: 12" EPs/mini-albums
There were also five early 7" singles numbered RTSO1 through RTSO5. These are all by the group Spizz Oil and related projects.
ROUGH###: numbered sequentially (1-159), with extensions such as CD, MC, etc. for different formats
RUFCD####: used only for four CD releases in 1989, numbered sequentially (6001-6004)
COPY###: used for some early cassette releases issued under the label name Rough Tapes, numbered sequentially (001-???)
After overstretching on the US market the label/distribution group ran into financial difficulty around 1990. The US branch was shut down and the German branch ended up in the Zomba Music Group where the name was eventually abandoned. In the UK One Little Indian provided financing and took over the label with original owner Geoff Travis initially in charge, but he soon left to start the Trade 2 label with Island Records. A result of this arrangement One Little Indian has retained ownership of some key catalogue releases, such as the early A.R. Kane albums.
Catalog numbering used by the second incarnation of the label:
R###x: numbered sequentially (starting around 250) with x indicating format (0 = 12", 1 = LP, 2 = CD, 3 = CD Single, 4 = Cassette, 5 = mini-album, 6 = CD mini-album, 7 = 7" single, 8 = double LP)
45REV##: singles club 7" series, numbered sequentially (01-??)
Finally, Geoff Travis regained control of the Rough Trade label name around 1999-2000 and re-launched the label alongside Tugboat Records.
Catalog numbering being used by the third incarnation of the label:
RTRADES###: 7" singles, 12" singles & vinyl EPs
RTRADESCD###[X]: CD singles & CDEPs - 'X' is appended when two versions of the single are released
RTRADESDVD###: DVD singles
RTRADELP###: vinyl LP albums
RTRADECD###: CD albums
On some releases, the E in RTRADE is missing, leaving RTRAD as the prefix.
In July 2001, Sanctuary Records joined forces with Rough Trade, including its imprint Tugboat. The relationship with Sanctuary was intended to support Rough Trade's growth plans by enabling the label to utilise the well-established Sanctuary infrastructure with a particular emphasis on the international sector.
In July 2007, a struggling Sanctuary announced, as part of its preamble to being bought by Universal, the sale of its 49% interest in the loss-making Rough Trade for a cash sum of £800,000 to the Beggars Group. Rough Trade continues to operate from its Golborne Road offices in London, with Beggars assuming central office functions. The Rough Trade specialist retail chain did not figure in the deal.