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  • Rob

ROUGH TRADE EXCLUSIVES...

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

I’m sick of being stiffed by postage and packaging costs when I order records online. When P&P costs around 20% of the total purchase, it starts to boil my piss. A way to get around these costs is to buy from your local record shop (which I do) but the money I save on delivery is swallowed up in petrol/parking/train fares/lunch/impulse buys so it costs me more in real terms.


When I received an email from Rough Trade about their Club Subscription which promises “a Limited Edition Rough Trade Exclusive vinyl pressing of our hand-picked Album of the Month to your door, every month” plus free shipping on all domestic orders from their site, I was intrigued.


The thought of someone picking music for me made my teeth itch but looking at previous Club releases, I was pleasantly surprised. Alvvays, Ezra Collective, Leftfield, Rina Sawayama, Jack White, Yard Act, all decent albums from acts that I’ve purchased in the past, so I took a chance.


The first selection they sent was post-punk noise merchants Shame with ‘Food For Worms’, then it was ‘Stereo Mind Game’ by Daughter, both albums were lower down on my to-buy list but still on the list. Last month I received ‘Good Lies’ by Overmono which I’d never heard of, yesterday I received 'I Thought I Was Better Than You' by Baxter Dury.


All albums came on limited edition, coloured vinyl with exclusive extras (CD with Shame, Overmono, Baxter Dury and a flexi single with the Daughter album).


There is flexibility, if I really don’t like the album, or already have it, then I can swap it for another in the range free of charge. I can also cancel my monthly membership at any time, without penalty too. So far, so good.


What are the downsides? Well, I’ll be receiving an album I didn’t choose which is unnerving, and to get the most out of the free P&P I need to put all my orders Rough Trade’s way but they aren't always the cheapest option out there.


Also, there is the chance I will preorder an album from another site (a Dinked Edition for example) that becomes the album of the month which will mean sending it back - it gets a bit Britannia Music Club then.


So, is it worth signing up? It depends on how many albums you buy each month, and if you are happy to have a random LP thrust at you. It costs £30 per month so to get actual value you will need to buy around 4 or 5 records a month from Rough Trade or hope the exclusive is on your list/to your liking then order another record per month.


So far I’m happy with the deal, I’ve already used my ‘free P&P’ a lot so I’m clawing back some of my costs and the exclusive albums have been good/excellent/good/excellent. I'll continue to pay for the service as long as the quality of the exclusives remains high.

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