To meet growing demand for physical music and video across the UK, Utopia Music has entered into a long-term contract to provide warehousing and logistics with DP World, a leading provider of supply-chain solutions. The move highlights the ongoing resilience in the UK’s physical music and video market, worth £1/2bn in 2022.

To facilitate Utopia’s growing operations, DP World is fitting out a state-of-the-art, specifically designed warehouse in Bicester. The 25,000 sq metre site, equivalent in size to 10 Camden Roundhouses, will showcase technologically advanced solutions such as high-density storage and robotic transfer of product, to enable smooth and efficient distribution of over 30 million units a year across the UK and export markets.

This £100m+ contract marks a significant milestone, as Utopia doubles down on its commitment to physical music and video, ensuring a future-facing home for its distribution arm, Utopia Distribution Services (UDS).  Stock will be moving from UDS’ current warehouse in Aylesbury (inherited from Cinram whose assets Utopia acquired in 2022), to the new facility across the summer. 

17.3m physical albums were sold in 2022 – 67.1% of which were CDs (BPI). As vinyl continues its 16-year-long rise, last month, HMV announced plans to return to its original flagship store in London’s Oxford Street and UMG’s Q1 2023 report notably highlighted strong growth of 32% for physical music YOY. The physical video market also shows excellent standing, with £209m in UK revenues reported last year (ERA).

All jobs have been secured, with Utopia running a shuttle from Aylesbury to the new site, just 15 miles away. With more capacity for product and online orders no longer needing to travel to a retailer’s warehouse on the way to the consumer, distribution is becoming more efficient, resulting in less impact on the environment.

Drew Hill, VP of Distribution Services, Utopia Music, said:

“With physical music showing its resilience over and over again in recent times, we are delighted to be doubling down on our commitment to the sector with this £100m+ commitment. With state-of-the-art facilities, robotics and increased capacity at the new warehouse, we can’t wait to capitalise on this expansion for both our clients and customers.”

Rashid Abdulla, CEO and MD Europe, DP World, commented:

“This contract is a significant step in our journey as we expand our logistics offerings in the UK, and we are excited about working with Utopia in a fast-growing industry. We see this as a great opportunity to realise our investment in the best technological innovations to build agile, streamlined, and sustainable supply chain solutions that can respond to ever-changing challenges whilst minimising costs and reducing environmental impact.”

Kim Bayley, CEO of digital entertainment and retail association ERA, welcomed the move on behalf of the UK’s more than 3,000 physical entertainment stores and home delivery retailers:

“Despite the growth of streaming, physical formats are still an essential element if you want to have a hit album or video. We welcome this substantial vote of confidence in entertainment’s physical future. Utopia have proven themselves to be collaborative partners. Such a massive move is never without risk, but we will be working closely with all sides to attempt to minimise any teething problems.”

The new facility joins Utopia’s other warehouses in Dartford operated by Proper Music Group, further strengthening its position in the physical distribution sector

DP World is exhibiting at Multimodal 2023 on stand 4060

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