Rough Trade Publishing sold as Geoff Travis returns to business

Rough Trade Publishing (RTP) is being acquired by Bank Robber Industries (BRI) – the parent of New York-based indie licensing company Bank Robber Music.

BRI has attained 50% of RTP’s stock, with an option to purchase the remaining 50% in two years.

RTP and House of Hassle Publishing, the publishing arm of BRI, will be merging operations and going forward worldwide under the name Rough Trade Publishing.

Founded by Lyle Hysen in 2004, Bank Robber Music exclusively represents over 20 top indie labels in the US, including Mute, Merge, Barsuk, Polyvinyl, Mexican Summer, DFA, Temporary Residence, Numero Group and Drag City.

The new Rough Trade Publishing will be run out of BRI’s New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, and London offices, and will assume House of Hassle’s former role as BRI’s publishing arm.

Bank Robber Music founder/House of Hassle co-founder Lyle Hysen has been appointed President of the new RTP and will oversee global operations.

Hysen will work alongside newly appointed RTP Chief Strategic Officer/Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs Gandhar Savur and Chief Financial Officer/Senior Vice President of Operations Douglas Smith.

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“We hope to help rough trade publishing become the destination home for the best songwriters.”

Geoff Travis

Original RTP co-founder Cathi Gibson will stay on as Managing Director and will head the UK operation.

Also remaining will be RTP Deputy Director of UK A&R and Creative Services Matt Harris.

Creative Services for the new RTP will be led in the US by newly appointed Head of US A&R AJ Tobey and Head of West Coast Creative Sarah Smith.

In addition, legendary Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis and longtime business partner/current Rough Trade Records co-director Jeannette Lee will be joining the new venture as Senior Directors of UK A&R, overseeing RTP’s A&R efforts for the UK.

Travis and Lee’s involvement in the new RTP reunites the independent industry icons with Gibson a quarter century after she departed her post as Rough Trade Music General Manager to start RTP following the break-up of the original Rough Trade Group.

“Jeannette and I are happy to join forces with good people whom share the same philosophy of creativity, humanity and fair business practices as music publishers.” says Travis.

“We hope to help Rough Trade Publishing become the destination home for the best songwriters.”

“I’m delighted to be working with Geoff and Jeannette again.”

Cathi Gibson, Rough Trade Publishing

Cathi Gibson adds: “I am delighted to be working with Geoff and Jeanette once again in this coming together of the two disparate Rough Trade publishing 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.”

“I have been involved in underground or alternative music since I was 14 years old,” says Lyle Hysen. “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.”

“We thought our vision here at House of Hassle was unique,” says Gandhar Savur, “but we soon realized 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.”

Cathi Gibson and the late Peter Walmsley founded Rough Trade Publishing in 1991.

Over the past 25 years, RTP has been home to  the likes of the Animal Collective, The National (pictured), Violent Femmes, Black Mountain, Bill Callahan, Slint, Akron/Family, Crass, David Grubbs, Panda Bear, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Trans Am, Hooded Fang, Owen Pallett, Haiku Salut, A Silver Mount Zion, The Sea and Cake, Tortoise, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Le Tigre, The Wrens, and Sunn O))).Music Business Worldwide

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