In the late '70s when punk was a break-out phenomenon in England, one particular record label set out on its own to create an independent network to make and distribute records by acts that the major labels wouldn't have any part of. Geoff Travis turned a record shop into a record label and then into a part of a distribution service (along with other shops and small labels) which made its way across Europe and the United States. Thanks to the Trade, the world got to hear Stiff Little Fingers, Young Marble Giants, Subway Sect, Cabaret Voltaire, Television Personalities, the Slits, Swell Maps, Scritti Politti, Kleenex/Liliput, the Pop Group, the Virgin Prunes, Essential Logic and many others, including later albums by Wire and Pere Ubu and one-off's from The Feelies and Butthole Surfers (this isn't even mentioning all of the albums from other labels that they distributed): in all, a stunning legacy.
During the '80s, the label picked up steam with the Fall and the Smiths as well as a deal with Warners to distribute Blanco Y Negro with acts like the Jesus and Mary Chain and Dinosaur Jr. Rough Trade became one of the best-selling and fiercely independent record labels in music. After all of this, problems came up.