Utopia Music

UK's Biggest Music & Home Entertainment Warehouse To Open End August

State-of-the-art 25,000sq m facility, handling 100K - 250K units a day. Planned suspension of services 14th - 28th Aug, deadline for final orders 9th Aug. UK music & video sectors welcome investment in physical music & home entertainment infrastructure.

Bicester, 8th August 2023

Utopia Distribution Services (UDS), and DP World, a leading provider of global end-to-end supply-chain solutions, will open the UK’s biggest distribution warehouse for physical music and video at the end of August.

The new 25,000sq metre Bicester site, fitted and operated by DP World, will be a first-of-its-kind centralised home for UK physical distribution. Driven by 80+ state-of-the-art ‘pick robots’, it will have a daily handling capacity of over 100,000 units, increasing to over 250,000 during peak periods.

Shipping over 30m units a year across the UK and export territories, the warehouse will distribute 70% of the UK’s physical music, for clients including Universal Music Group (UMG), Sony Music Entertainment and [PIAS], as well as 35% of the UK’s physical video market – amounting to over 50% of the UK music and home entertainment markets combined.

The new site has been created to meet ongoing demand for physical music and video. New year-to-date BPI stats reveal unit sales for physical albums are up year-on-year, supported by a 14% growth in vinyl album sales. This is borne out of physical’s ongoing role in chart success, with 23 out of 26 UK No. 1 albums released in the year to date topping the Official Albums Chart off the back of a majority of physical sales. The trend appears to be mirrored globally, with UMG reporting an 18.3% year-on-year increase in physical revenue for the first six months of 2023.

The UK’s home entertainment market, meanwhile, saw its 10th consecutive year of revenue growth in 2022. Physical video retail grew to £209m, with sales of Blu-ray and Blu-ray 4k UHD now over 40% of the total market (ERA). Best selling DVDs included Top Gun: Maverick, which shipped more than 300,000 physical units last year, and Spiderman: No Way Home, which accrued more than 915,000 sales in ownership formats – a combination of DVD, Blu-Ray, as well as Electronic Sell-through.

The opening will see UDS relocate from its Aylesbury unit, inherited from Cinram whose assets Utopia acquired in 2022. As operations cease at Aylesbury ahead of the new opening, a planned two week suspension to services is due to take place 14th to 28th August. UDS have ensured clients and customers were given sufficient notice, with Wednesday 9th August set as the deadline for final orders.

The transition from Aylesbury to Bicester will see all jobs protected, with free transport provided to the new premises. 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, MD Utopia Distribution Services and VP Distribution Services, Utopia Music, said: “We’re pleased to be working closely with DP World on a smooth transition to our brand new state-of-the-art facility. With UDS distributing for over 50% of the UK’s combined music and video market, our investment in this infrastructure marks a bright and exciting future for physical entertainment.”

Jonathan Himsworth, Vice President Sales at DP World Logistics, added: “DP World brings together an unparalleled combination of assets and expertise to build creative solutions to the hardest problems in logistics, and this is why so many of the world’s largest and most recognisable brands trust us to deliver on their supply chain needs. To this end, we are very excited about working with Utopia to support the renaissance of physical music in the UK.”

BPI Chief Strategy Officer, Sophie Jones, commented: “Demand for albums on vinyl just keeps growing, while there are positive signs the long-term decline in CD purchasing is slowing and starting to bottom out.  Both formats support a strong and healthy physical sector that plays an important role in the UK’s vibrant music economy led by streaming.  This huge new warehouse and the investment it represents makes a welcome commitment to British music’s infrastructure and channels of distribution that will help to sustain the growth in demand for music on physical format for the foreseeable future and beyond.”

Kim Bayley, CEO of the Digital Entertainment And Retail Association (ERA), said: “CD, vinyl and DVD are still a vital part of the entertainment market. Moving over 50% of the UK’s music and video stock to a new warehouse was never going to be an easy task but ERA and its members applaud UDS for the tremendous effort which is going into the move. We look forward to a smooth transition and the benefits that this huge investment in the supply chain will bring.”

Liz Bales, CEO, British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE), added: “Physical formats are such an important part of Home Entertainment, so it’s fantastic to see this continued investment in an area of the business that has served consumers so well for so long, allowing them to own and keep the shows and films that they love. The exceptional value of DVDs, as well as the superior at-home experience of 4K

UHD, supports the ongoing appetite for these formats with audiences. We look forward to working together in the future.”

Utopia Music’s other physical distributor, Proper Music Group, will continue operating from its Dartford warehouse.

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About Utopia Music

Utopia Music is a Swiss-based fintech company with world class music distribution capabilities serving the music industry worldwide.

Utopia’s purpose is to support the growth of the music industry by developing innovative, data-based solutions in partnership with the entire music value chain. Through state-of-the-art Platform technology, Utopia aims to upgrade the financial infrastructure of the music industry and increase the accuracy and transparency of royalty payments. This means more money, faster and more accurately, to copyright holders – or what it calls, ‘Fair Pay for Every Play’.

Utopia Music’s distribution companies provide world-class physical and digital distribution, reaching 5,800 labels. Comprising award winning companies Proper Music Group and UDS (formerly Cinram Novum). Utopia’s distribution services not only increase the reach of music, but provides deeper insights into sales and performance thanks to the simple and clear access to distribution data.

About DP World

Trade is the lifeblood of the global economy, creating opportunities and improving the quality of life for people around the world. DP World exists to make the world’s trade flow better, changing what’s possible for the customers and communities we serve globally.

With a dedicated, diverse and professional team of more than 103,000 employees spanning 75 countries on six continents, DP World is pushing trade further and faster towards a seamless supply chain that’s fit for the future.

We’re rapidly transforming and integrating our businesses – Ports and Terminals, Marine Services, Logistics and Technology – and uniting our global infrastructure with local expertise to create stronger, more efficient end-to-end supply chain solutions that can change the way the world trades.

What’s more, we’re reshaping the future by investing in innovation. From intelligent delivery systems to automated warehouse stacking, we’re at the cutting edge of disruptive technology, pushing the sector towards better ways to trade, minimising disruptions from the factory floor to the customer’s door.

Utopia Music

Utopia was founded in 2016 with the goal of creating a better world of music.