Business News Deals Labels & Publishers

Rough Trade founder to A&R for Rough Trade publisher again as part of Bank Robber deal

By | Published on Tuesday 15 March 2016

Rough Trade Publishing

New York-based music rights firm Bank Robber Industries has bought 50% of UK-based music publisher Rough Trade Publishing, and will merge the company with its existing publishing business, House Of Hassle. The merged entity will then trade under the more famous Rough Trade name.

The all new Rough Trade Publishing will be run by Bank Robber Music co-founder Lyle Hysen alongside Gandhar Savur and Douglas Smith, who have been appointed as Chief Strategic Officer and Chief Financial Officer respectively. Rough Trade Publishing co-founder Cathi Gibson will stay on as MD, and will head-up UK operations of the new entity, with Matt Harris also staying on as Deputy Director Of UK A&R and Creative Services.

The deal, which gives Bank Robber the option to buy the other 50% of the publisher in two years, also links the Rough Trade publishing business back to the Rough Trade label, albeit seemingly via personnel rather then equity. Which is to say, Rough Trade Records chiefs Geoff Travis and Jeannette Lee will oversee the revamped publishing company’s UK A&R activity.

The Rough Trade publishing company, like the Rough Trade shops, has not been formally allied to the label of the same name for a long time, in the case of the publisher since 1991, when Gibson established the standalone songs business. Though many people often assume Rough Trade founder Travis is still actively involved in any company using that name. And hey, look, now he is. Well, he is this one.

Which means we’ve got a quote from Travis incoming. Actually, you’ve probably noticed we’ve mentioned quite a few people in this story, and you’re probably wondering whether that means there will now be a flood of quotes as everyone says their bit. Yeah, you’ve really cracked how this works, haven’t you? But don’t worry. You’re welcome to employ the “it’s all quotes from this point onwards, I’m going to stop reading” stratagem is you so wish. Not least because I can confirm, nobody’s THRILLED here.

Travis: “Jeannette and I are happy to join forces with good people whom share the same philosophy of creativity, humanity and fair business practices … we hope to help Rough Trade Publishing become the destination home for the best songwriters”.

Gibson: “I am delighted to be working with Geoff and Jeanette once again in this coming together of the two disparate Rough Trade [music rights] companies. We have a great deal in common with Bank Robber and have been dealing with them happily for several years already, so this move is a natural progression”.

Hysen: “I have been involved in underground or alternative music since I was fourteen years old. Since starting Bank Robber, it’s been my privilege to work with such pioneers as Mac MacCaughan and Laura Balance of Merge Records, Thrill Jockey’s Bettina Richards, and Ian Mackaye of Dischord Records, each of whom achieved extraordinary creative and popular success on their own terms. Entering into this new partnership with Geoff Travis and Jeannette Lee marks a landmark moment for me on that same path which I set out on so many years ago. The impact that Geoff and Jeannette have made on music will last forever. I look forward to working together with them and Rough Trade Publishing to continue that incredible legacy”.

Savur: “We thought our vision here at House Of Hassle was unique but we soon realised Cathi Gibson and Rough Trade Publishing were doing something remarkably similar in the UK to what we had set out to accomplish in the US. Cathi was essentially our UK counterpart and had been actively furthering similar goals in the UK for decades. She and I began speaking regularly, discussing our shared ideals, our distaste for the current state of music publishing, and our ideas for how a global publishing company should be run in the 21st century. Our views were so obviously aligned, the decision to join forces and unite our two companies was inevitable”.