Since 1976, Rough Trade’s been championing the best in underground and post-punk music. Stores are now open in east London, Bristol, Nottingham and in New York. Rough Trade’s support for the live music industry is reflected in the bands and artists that are invited to perform in-store. Known for spotlighting upcoming artists including Dana Gavanski and Eva Lazarus, as well as working with some of the biggest artists in the world including Nick Cave and Father John Misty, Rough Trade’s taste for innovation and doing things differently led them to a partnership with DICE.
Discovering new audiences and selling out intimate shows with Rough TradeWords by Kate Menzies
Results of Rough Trade's in-store events
Ticket sellout across top 100 events since 2021
Total tickets sold on DICE since 2020
Tickets reserved on the Waiting List since 2020
An in-store event at Rough Trade Nottingham
Unique in-store events
Rough Trade’s events offer fans a chance to connect with their favourite artists on a more intimate level. With numbers capped below 300 for signings and performances in-store, these events are a special occurrence that keep fans coming back to Rough Trade. Little Simz, Father John Misty, Nao and Wet Leg are just a few of the artists who’ve played live sets and held signings at Rough Trade stores, often to promote new albums.
Events usually include additional extras as part of the ticket price, such as CDs or LPs, as well as access to Q&A sessions and signings. During the pandemic, while in-store events were unable to go ahead, fans could stream performances, too. This kind of flexibility has helped Rough Trade offer more to fans and helped artists engage with their fans in new ways.
Marketing for these events had previously been limited to places where fans would need to go looking for them, only being advertised in-store and on Rough Trade’s website. New and younger fans weren’t always aware that their favourite artists were right under their noses because of the minimal marketing.
The element of discovery
To find new fans, Rough Trade needed to actively seek them out. Telling fans about events and also making it easier for them to buy tickets was key: two things that DICE knows a lot about. Partnering with DICE meant that Rough Trade would have its events proactively shown to fans listening to the artists playing, creating awareness and building relationships with fans already on DICE.
DICE’s Discovery feed promotes events to fans based on what they’re listening to, what they’re buying tickets to, and plenty of other data that tailors recommendations. Fans following artists on DICE are also notified about events that these artists are playing through push notifications for the events and/or their Discovery feeds. This greatly expanded the number of fans finding out about in-store events.
“DICE really helps us with store and event planning. For example, knowing the split of demand for LPs and CDs via MIO [DICE’s event creation tool for partners] is really useful. Also, typically when we do more than one show with an artist on the same day, we have used the DICE Waiting List data to gauge demand and announce extra shows, knowing we have an audience primed to attend.” says Sam Allison, Head of Bar & Events for Rough Trade UK.
Rough Trade Bristol
A whole new crowd
Rough Trade’s loyal fans have happily switched to using DICE to get their tickets, and since partnering with DICE, Rough Trade has found new, younger fans with 23% of those attending in-store events now between ages 18-25. Events have been consistently packed, with events in the last three months of 2021 reaching between 95 and 98% attendance. Sales of physical merchandise also remain high, with more than 36K LPs and 46K CDs being sold at live events since the beginning of 2020.
“It was such an easy transition to start using and working with DICE, I have nothing but good things to say about the team. I work with the team so often and it doesn’t feel like we’re Rough Trade and they’re DICE, it feels like we’re all doing this together, which is a great thing,” says Sam Allison of the partnership.