ERA pays tribute to Tower Records founder Russ Solomon's 'enormous contribution' to music retail

ERA pays tribute to Tower Records founder Russ Solomon's 'enormous contribution' to music retail

The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) has paid tribute to Tower Records founder Russ Solomon who passed away earlier this week, aged 92.

Solomon (pictured above, right, with president of the Music Business Association James Donio) played a significant role in the 1988 formation of the original British Association Of Record Dealers, which subsequently became ERA.

The initiative to form a UK association of the record industry’s key retailers followed the success of its American predecessor NARM.

Solomon and Tower’s support for the idea resulted in then Tower UK chief Steve Smith becoming the first Chairman of BARD in September 1988.

Bob Lewis, founding director general of BARD, said: “Russ Solomon was an inspirational figure and - as then president of the US retail association NARM - was one of the original instigators of the discussions which led to the foundation of ERA. UK digital services and retailers are stronger and the industry is all the better for Russ’s great contribution.”

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said: “Russ Solomon helped set the ball rolling for UK record retailers to have their own forum and lobbying vehicle for the first time. From those early beginnings in 1988 ERA has grown from just 20 members to a current all-time-high of more than 250 embracing not just physical outlets but the likes of Amazon, Google, Spotify, Deezer, Sky Store and many more. Russ Solomon’s enormous contribution to the history of record retailing is undeniable, but in helping retailers for the first time to find a collective voice, he helped change an entire industry for the better. We remember him with affection and we offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

Solomon founded Tower Records with one premises in Sacramento, California in 1952 and grew the business into a sector leader with sales of over one billion dollars  and nearly 200 stores in 15 countries.

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