Utopia Music Officially Kicks Off DP World Distribution Partnership: ‘The Renaissance of Physical Music in the UK’

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Utopia Distribution Services and DP World are preparing to open a previously announced UK music distribution warehouse later in August. Photo Credit: Adrian Sulyok

Utopia Distribution Services has kicked off a physical distribution partnership with logistics company DP World, and the businesses are set to open what’s described as the UK’s largest warehouse for media products.

Initially announced earlier in 2023, the tie-up between Utopia Distribution Services and DP World was just recently confirmed in a formal release from the latter company, which is a subsidiary of the government-owned Dubai World.

Notwithstanding several signs of operational difficulties within the overarching Utopia Music, it’s worth noting at the outset that Utopia Distribution Services and Proper Music Group have largely been insulated from less-than-ideal developments.

Specifically, salary delays didn’t impact Proper or Utopia’s distribution unit, according to the relevant reports and the Swiss company, which says it’s cleared “all outstanding tax debts.”

Back to the DP World-Utopia Distribution warehouse, the approximately 269,000-square-foot Bicester, Oxfordshire, facility is expected to open its doors later this month.

According to the involved parties, 70 percent of physical music and 35 percent of physical home-media products sold in the UK annually will pass through the warehouse, which is poised to service some 400 indie record stores, Amazon, and a number of others.

Moreover, a team of 240 human workers and north of 80 Locus Robotics robots will power the warehouse and drive its average daily handling capacity of roughly 100,000 units as well as an upper-end capacity (“during peak periods”) of 250,000 units, per DP and Utopia.

Addressing the warehouse’s imminent opening in a statement, DP World sales VP Jonathan Himsworth indicated that his company is “very excited about working with Utopia Music to support the renaissance of physical music in the UK.”

And in remarks of his own, Utopia Distribution Services MD Drew Hill communicated: “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.”

Notwithstanding the well-documented resurgence of vinyl (in the UK, the States, and other markets), CD Baby revealed its exit from the physical distribution game and shuttered its warehouse in May. That same month, Alliance Entertainment reported a double-digit Q1 revenue decline; in July, execs announced the conclusion of a 1,335,000-share offering that had priced these shares at $3 apiece.