ABOUT US

This is Cargo Records

Over the decades, Cargo Records has developed to be so much more than just a music distributor. Today, we are at the helm of an extensive network combining the best services for independent labels and artists worldwide.
Cargo Records was established in 1998 and has become one of the last truly independent global physical and digital European music distributors. In 2021, we represent promising newcomers as well as established artists and up-and-coming niche labels as well as labels that have significantly shaped the history of independent music. Artists and labels from a variety of genres from punk to jazz, from ambient to pop and from electronic to alternative find their tailor-made, boutique music market solution with us benefitting from the expertise of dedicated, passionate professionals who have one thing in common: we love music.


Physical Distribution

In 2020, Germany was the fourth-largest music market worldwide right behind the USA, Japan and the UK. In 2020, Cargo’s physical distribution revenue was …. Globally, we shipped … physical units. We look after the physical business for legendary labels such as Sub Pop, Touch&Go, Alternative Tentacles, and Merge, as well as current indie top labels such as Dead Oceans, Fire Records, Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Ghostly International, and established niche labels such as Rhymesayers, Hyperdub, Sacred Bones, Heavy Psych Sounds, Damaged Goods, Sargent House, Rune Grammofon, Voodoo Rhythm Records or Pelagic and up-and-coming international specialist labels such as Blackscreen Records, Awesome Tapes From Africa or Born Bad.

Cargo’s headquarters are based in Wuppertal, Germany, in direct view of Wuppertal’s unique means of travel, the “Schwebebahn” – the world’s only “hanging train”. In the 1990s, our office building used to be the home of a small supermarket and we like the analogy: Cargo offers a boutique setting in which partners pick and mix their best individual fit from our portfolio of services – with qualified and motivated staff available to support every stage of the journey, whether it’s planning a global release or setting up physical and digital retail and marketing campaigns to making sure the artist’s interview day and instore show is a full-on success.


Label and Product Management

Our Wuppertal-based label and product managers coordinate your release, whether it’s a limited specialist pressing of 150 units or a top 10 candidate for the charts. In 2020, we were responsible for the German chart successes of such diverse acts as SHAME, DINOSAUR JR, GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, MF DOOM or JAPANESE BREAKFAST to name but a few. In direct communication with you as a supplier we determine timelines for each territory and suggest marketing opportunities effectively acting as your extended label team to ensure maximum impact of your release in time for street date. Retail campaigns are realized in sync with our sales&distribution team at 375 Media and entail all our retail partners from the brick and mortar independent record store to mailorder specialists to the largest accounts such as Amazon or Media/Saturn in Germany and Austria. From realizing custom products such as retailer-specific bundles to inclusion in the customized link tree to coordination with your inhouse or external promotion/marketing partner, our product managers are fully dedicated to making your release succeed. Data analysis and stock control are part of this dedication, as well as minute monthly statements and on-time accounting.

Logistics

Our logistic managers ensure a smooth landing and prompt distribution of your goods in Europe and the rest of the world. Their response time is stellar whether it’s a regular third party shipment, whether we’re manufacturing your goods and distributing them onwards, whether it’s urgently required tour stock or whether it’s the running and fulfilment of your artist’s D2C webstore or one of our white-label shops.
Our warehouse and logistics hub is conveniently based in Austria, at the very heart of Europe, allowing for fast shipments throughout Europe and beyond.

375 Media GmbH

Making waves across the independent music world and realising a better, more sustainable distribution model, Cargo joined forces with fellow indie distribution heavyweight Indigo (Beggars Group with 4AD, Matador, XL Recordings etc., Epitaph, Erased Tapes, Memphis Industries, Good Movies to name but a few) and founded the joint international distribution arm, 375 Media, in 2019.
Setting up 375 Media with key account, after sale and logistics managers further increased impact on sales platforms such as Amazon, Media/Saturn or and streamlined warehousing, logistics and communication. The fact that close to 1000 independent record shops worldwide, chain stores and online platforms have thus immediate access to a joint catalogue of more than 30,000 available titles through all available formats speaks for itself. 375 Media’s sales staff are experienced, professional and approachable. They know their retail partners well and know exactly where to place new releases.

International sales

375’s international network is built on long-term relationships with distribution partners all around the globe. Hand-picked partners provide an extensive knowledge of their respective domestic markets ensuring the perfect fit for your specific product – also as far as domestic promotion (online, print, radio) and POS marketing are concerned. In addition to our distribution partners, we are working with a tight international network of independent record stores/mailorder companies reaching from Iceland to Australia.

visit 375 MEDIA

Film

Knowing our clientele and their specific needs well, we early on set our sights on the film sector. In the same way that we cater to vinyl collectors our movie catalogue allows us to create customized boxsets and the corresponding retail and marketing campaigns. With weekly new releases for physical and VOD content and a fine selection of movie classics and catalogues for all genres such as western, martial arts and Asia, drama or family we constantly grow our repertoire and are open for new content. Digitally, we pitch directly to all major DSPs and service to worldwide inflight entertainment programmes.

Cargo Manufacturing

German vinyl sales increased 24.7% between 2019 und 2020; in 2020 4,2 million vinyl records were sold in Germany . In the past three years, the Cargo manufacturing department pressed well over half a million records. With a continually rising demand for vinyl we have fixed reserved weekly capacities with Europe’s top pressing plants. Our manufacturing team remains in close contact throughout the process and in 2020 alone has successfully implemented more than 115,000 productions spanning everything from small-run, multi-colour 7”s to massive, multi-record boxsets and Collector’s Editions.
Meeting the rising demand for vinyl, we recently acquired our own vinyl press as Cargo Manufacturing granting Cargo artists and labels a certain independence from the currently notoriously limited worldwide pressing capacities.

Promotion/Marketing

Releases promoted by our inhouse marketing department benefit from our team’s direct contact to a variety of journalists, tastemakers, influencers and publications across all genres and types of outlet, whether print, radio, blog, podcast or influencer post. Your individual requirements become part of a customized campaign ensuring maximum visibility for your release across the German media board. A variety of tools such as the Music Promotion Network, the watermarked PromoJukebox or a custom link tree allow the analysis of click and opening rates vital for the performance of your release and seamlessly tie in with our retail marketing. The proximity to our inhouse manufacturing department, the direct communication with our product managers, sales team and digital managers allow our marketing team the flexibility to adjust promotion campaigns on short notice according to your specific needs. We believe in the benefits of direct communication on every step of the promotion journey.

Cargo Digital Services GmbH


With a keen eye for the latest tech and industry developments Cargo Digital Services is a global full-service provider for your digital release offering a fully independent set-up catering to over 450 digital platforms worldwide. We pitch your releases in all relevant markets and keep close contact with playlist curators across streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer or Tidal. Our state-of-the-art webtool allows not only fully independent uploads but detailed statistics on the digital performance of your release. Our specialists for content strategy, YouTube channel management and TikTok insights will help you grow your audience while we tailor your social media activity towards the streamlined promotion of your release. True to MERLINs dictum “Merlin is for independents that want to own their future and ensure their rights are properly valued” Cargo Digital Services is a MERLIN member.

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