Prime Direct Distribution was conceived late in 2002 after it’s two current owners, Spencer Broughton and Richard Stewart
first met in a non descript pub off the North Circular Road. On the agenda was a management buy-out of the then much larger Prime
Distribution’s UK van service, as Prime were at that time, planning the purchase of another export company, Caroline. Launching
the new venture (and going under the name Prime Direct Distribution to differentiate it as a standalone company) proved a
shrewd move for our daring duo. PDD started life in March 2003, just a few short months before the parent company Prime
Distribution fell into administration, in a seemingly endless roll call of high profile collapses that sent shockwaves
throughout the music industry during an incredibly tumultuous decade.
The mission statement from those early days on the road was to provide the UK Record shops a gold standard service, and to provide transparency and timely payments to our suppliers. Much has changed during that time, and it was an era that saw the disappearance of some of the UK's biggest players (Pinnacle, Amato & Unique amongst the bigger casualties), and we adapted and restructured the company constantly to keep pace with such rapid evolution. The void left by these huge companies was keenly felt, and unsurprisingly a great many labels and shops found themselves dragged under by the whirlpool effect. The industry lost some of its supporting planks and without this infrastructure there followed a long period of uncertainty, where PDD assumed a greater responsibility for strengthening the links between the labels and shops that remained. There were dark days and a widespread cull as dance music retreated from centre stage, yet from here, it gradually found its voice again and operating in the shadows, a whole new grass roots movement began taking shape. As the company grew and developed, we never lost sight of our original ideals and this is perhaps one of the reasons we were able to expand the company remit steadily despite the turbulent economic background and the massive challenges digital distribution forced the industry to face up to.
We came from a tiny office in South London with 4 vans, morphing into a fully fledged export company that now manages more than 200 labels for exclusive distribution across many genres and formats. Primarily we have always seen our role as the conduit between record labels or artists and the marketplace; every day, a great deal of work goes into ensuring that both sides of that chain remain as robust as possible as that is what helps the integrity and diversity of our scene. The symbiotic relationship between labels and the stores was overlooked with the dawn of digital distribution, but we continued to nurture up and coming labels in order that tomorrow’s supply line to the shops is ever assured. We don’t suggest that we always got that part right but the groundwork laid during the past few years certainly contributed to the latest vinyl revival we are currently enjoying. That is not to say this is the only string to our bow, far from it. The CD operation and our digital business both continue to grow year on year, as more and more labels make the switch over to the PDD family. For more in depth detail on our digital or CD distribution, simply go to the relevant pages on this site.
We offer a bespoke range of label services tailored to the needs of individual labels, which covers pressing, distribution, logistics on the physical side as well as digital services and publishing. Labels can plug into all these services, or just the parts they need. One word that comes up time and time again at PDD HQ is flexibility. This can be seen in the deals that we offer, as well as the range of product we distribute. We use our insight to see what works best, but try to avoid the rigid thinking that one size fits all. This wide network we operate allows us to work across the many divides, at the same time hot housing new scene’s that show promise. The fragmented bases that make up the whole dance music picture can all be found under the Prime Direct banner. They have also loosely evolved (some more loosely than others) from the journey from Disco, Soul, Electro, Hip Hop, House and Acid House scenes, that the PDD staff grew up on. We are able to go so widely across the genres, due to the quality and diversity of our current roster; whatever the musical style, we hook into the biggest DJ’s, producers and labels from each respective scene.
We also work closely with partners around the World on both exclusive and non-exclusive deals, some of which are reciprocal. This again depends on the type of music, but we keep several options open in all the key International export territories and are the exclusive UK partner with several leading European companies, importing product into the UK which adds an extra dimension to our own exclusive offerings.
The new site launches at about the same time that we are celebrating our first 10 years in business, and our agility and passion for what we do have helped us reach that milestone. A 10th anniversary is often marked with a gift of either tin or aluminium, symbolising the fact that any successful partnership needs to be flexible and durable; it can be bent without being broken. That thinking perfectly sums up the company ethos and we now take this opportunity to raise a glass and offer a toast to all those who has helped shape us, and shared our journey along the way- there have been many like minded souls we crossed paths with over the years, too many to list, but who hold a special place in our hearts!
None of what we do would ever be possible without the incredible support that we have enjoyed from all our partners from day one. We must also reserve a special mention for the team that makes up PDD, (past and present) as they are the people who make us who and what we are today. The eyes, the ears, the brains and the beating heart, between them, they come with a combined expertise and experience stretching back many decades.
A brief run-down of the current Prime Direct first ten will follow shortly;
UK Sales Manager
James Le Vack
Head of Digital/ New Business