Rough Trade Mail Order
August 31, 2021 10:13AM
Has anyone here ever ordered anything from the Rough Trade online store? And if so, has the service sucked as badly for them as it has for me?

I've placed three orders in the last year, as I want to support the good guys and not throw more money at Amazon. The first time I tried it, it was for an album I knew was out, but it was at the height of the lockdown, so I wasn't especially eager to get out to a record store. Placed the order, then watched for over two months while the order status never changed from "This order will be shipping soon." I made allowances for the delay maybe being lockdown related, but finally decided screw it and canceled the order.

Twice since then, I've placed pre-orders. I watched the release dates come and go, waited for a couple of months each time and checked other sources to make sure the items had indeed been released. They had. But nothing ever arrived. Both times, the order status never budged from "This order will be shipping soon." Have ended up canceling both those orders also, as release date + two months seems like more than an adequate amount of time to wait for an order to ship.

I've checked to make sure that I don't have something stupid like Pick Up From the Store checked or anything, and nope. It very definitely shows that it's supposed to ship to my home address, and I have a valid payment option set up.

So I don't know what the deal is. Does Rough Trade just flat out suck at the whole mail order business, or do they specifically not like me? I'd much rather pay them a few extra bucks than order anything from Amazon, but, much like every interesting band I read about on Bandcamp, Rough Trade doesn't seem to want my money.
Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
August 31, 2021 11:31AM
It doesn't look like you're alone.


I'm surprised about Bandcamp, though. I've had only two problems (one of which is currently an ongoing dispute, with BC in my corner) in the nearly hundred or so orders I've placed with BC bands.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/31/2021 11:53AM by Michael Toland.
Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
August 31, 2021 01:54PM
My issue with Bandcamp is that nearly every single artist I'm interested in buying anything from offers only vinyl, cassette and mp3, none of which are a format I am particularly interested in shelling out money for. On the odd occasion when someone on Bandcamp is offering a disc version, I've had no issues whatsoever with service. It's just that those opportunities are getting rarer all the time.

As for Rough Trade, I guess that's what one gets for assuming decades of good will towards a brand name = trustworthy and reliable. It's crazy that they'd squander the good will of a pretty loyal demographic like this.
Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
August 31, 2021 02:09PM
I've come to accept that digital is the coin of the realm now, as far as format goes. It's also a good way to put out releases the hardcore might want, but not enough casual fans to warrant spending the money on manufacturing. Jazz saxophonist Tim Berne has released a ton of concerts from his various bands as DLs, in various fidelities, and by releasing them this way, instead of on streaming services, he may actually make a little money off them.

I don't mind vinyl, depending on who it is and/or what kind of music they play, and on what format I've got the rest of the catalog. It would be nice if these acts offered vinyl and CD, instead of vinyl and cassette, though. The revival of the latter format baffles me completely.
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Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
September 01, 2021 12:44PM
I highly recommend this place []

I have ordered several fairly obscure items from this place, highly recommended. Their reggae and ska collections are just sick! Orders some times come with a cool sticker or two and some other mailers. It is so nice to get a little surprise with your order from time to time.
Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
September 01, 2021 02:36PM
Hmmm - looks like maybe it's a combination of a market for vintage Hip Hop, Guardians of the Galaxy, and of course, hipsters being hipsters, that's fueled the cassette revival.

Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
September 02, 2021 04:26PM
Maybe it's a larger issue than the store: []

Regarding the decline of CD sales, I looked up their selection of CDs on their website before I went to the store's current location and picked out what I wanted to buy, only to be told "we only have them available in our warehouse for mail order." They have really abandoned the CD. They used to release a list of 10 notable albums each month, with a rack containing them on both LP and CD near the store's entrance. Guess which format has disappeared from it? Are equivalent record stores in the Bay Area, Chicago, L.A., etc. acting like this too?
Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
September 02, 2021 07:30PM
Now WAIT just a minute.

You can’t convince me the people who are buying current-release cassettes are actually playing them.

I have two cassette decks from the 80s that I wouldn’t trust to play them safely. There’s no cars with cassette players. Yes, I’m sure there’s makers of cassette players now, but it’s got to be a pretty niche market.

I’m guessing like 15% of the cassette purchasers actually listen to them. They buy them for the cool kitsch factor, then stream the release.
Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
September 02, 2021 08:44PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/06/2021 11:26PM by That One Guy.
Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
September 03, 2021 08:53AM
I still have my cassettes dating back to the late 80s-early 90s (most of which would be impossible to find in another format), I still have a decent tape deck on my stereo, but I'll be damned if I would ever again buy a prerecorded cassette. Sound quality is way below a LP or CD, and it's been over a decade since I last owned a car with a tape deck. They're not even particularly good looking, and are hard to store properly. I guess hipsters will be hip.

I still buy cds though and, like Michael Toland, don't like the fact many bands don't bother to issue them anymore. I don't want my music collection to disappear just because a computer drive decides, with no advance warning, that it no longer wants to live, or because some website has suddenly gone out of business. Anything I'm forced to buy as a download only, I burn onto a cd for future use, in addition to keeping in digital form in at least two separate drives.
Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
September 03, 2021 01:10PM
I don't buy pre-recorded cassettes, but a couple of my oldest friends in Colorado got back into home-recording cassettes. They even found old tape decks and refurbished them to bring them up to top performing shape. (Call them hipsters or fetishists if you like, but I gotta respect anyone who has the ability to do work like that.)

They soon encouraged me to get a decent tape deck, and to start swapping mix tapes with them. One of them even started looking on Craigslist on my behalf, tracking down good options for me. (He knew his stereo equipment, but needed a tutorial in Washington State geography. "I found a great one for you! How far is Spokane?") I eventually went for it, getting a good deal on a really top-notch Nakamichi tape deck -- one that I didn't have to drive far to buy.

For all the discussion here of sound quality, ease of use, storage, etc., I had forgotten that recording these mixes the old-fashioned, manual way is fun. We've exchanged some good mix tapes, and it's helped me maintain my bond with old friends. It's also served, to some degree, as a test lab for my radio program. I fell out of the taping practice when the pandemic/lockdown began, and KSER's hosts had to start pre-recording their shows. (I simply didn't have enough free time -- even with lockdown -- to record my show and to record mix tapes.) But now that I'm back in the studio live on Friday nights, I'll probably resume recording and swapping tapes with these guys.

Is it a format that I take seriously? No. It's all for the fun of it.
Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
September 03, 2021 01:23PM
I have a box stashed somewhere in a closet of about 125 mixtapes that I made for myself to play in my car, spanning from 1984 to about 1995. I hate to say it, but I eventually tired of the effort it took to put those things together. Hours of work (hours I no longer had once I got married the first time), shaky cuts and uneven fidelity, having to add times together without a time calculator to have an estimate of how many songs I could put on each side...frankly, it got to be a drag. The mechanics of it all overwhelmed the creative part. It's the main reason I stopped doing it. The fun you describe had evaporated for me.

I've swapped digital playlists on occasion, but I didn't swap mixtapes back in Ye Olden Thymes. I did make a three-mixtape set for a girlfriend once. We had broken up and gotten back together, and it turned out that the most of the songs on it were breakup songs. That came down purely to the fact that there are just more breakup songs I liked than love songs in rock (and I'm really picky about love songs, as 90% of them sound insincere to me), but I think she thought I did it to punish her. (The relationship lasted only another year or so.) When I ran back into her two decades later, she brought it up, so it affected her one way or the other. I imagine she trashed the damn things as soon as we broke up for good.
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Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
September 03, 2021 03:18PM
In the 70s, I could always tell when my brother was recording a mixtape for a girl because he'd include "Another Girl, Another Planet." Then in the 80s he moved on to "Whenever You're On My Mind" by Marshall Crenshaw. Don't know what his go-to song might've been in the 90s, but he ended up marrying a Deadhead, so it's likely she wouldn't have been too impressed with whatever it was anyway.

Any time I recorded a mixtape for a girl I liked, I tried not to be too obvious about it and thus didn't include such giveaway tunes - which of course defeated the purpose of the entire exercise and explains much about the course of my life in general.
Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
September 03, 2021 03:17PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/06/2021 11:26PM by That One Guy.
Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
September 03, 2021 04:48PM
My future wife and I used to exchange mix tapes. It meant a lot to both of us, as (a) she was as big a music geek as I was, and (2) our courtship was long-distance. I can't say either of us saved those tapes, though.

I just put on one of my friends' latest mixtapes, playing it for the first time. Deee-lite kickin' it off. This bodes well.
Re: Rough Trade Mail Order
November 04, 2021 01:44AM
Another mostly-thumbs-up for Bandcamp. I think the issue is that you're usually dealing directly with artists and their labels (or "labels" i.e. the bassist getting the packages ready) who might not be that experienced with this whole mailorder thang. (I've only had a few problems with BC, most of which were usually straightened out right away with only one still-ongoing dispute opened via Paypal).

Haven't tried Rough Trade (and at this point I'll probably stir clear). The only distributor I've had any real issues with (aside from one or two scammy eBay sellers) was Fusetron, who only shipped part of my order and was never heard from again. (Never did get the rest of the items I ordered nor a refund, even after several emails. I ended up opening up a Paypal dispute and getting refunded for the remaining items). Otherwise BC, Forced Exposure, and Get Hip (among others) end up getting quite a bit of my paycheck.

And one more sad smiley regarding the decline of the CD. I wouldn't be surprised if the majors eventually stop producing (ownable) physical product altogether and only offer streaming (which of course you'll have to pay $$$ for every month or so).
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