Following the sad news of the death of former ERA chairman Paul Quirk, industry figures have paid tribute.
Quirk died aged 71 after a short battle with cancer.
Alongside his brother Rob, he headed up the Quirk’s indie retail chain, which was centred on Ormskirk, outside Liverpool.
Paul Quirk became an increasingly well-known industry figure, so it was a natural step to for him to get involved with the Entertainment Retailers Association, launched in 1988 by members including Woolworths, Our Price and WH Smith.
“He didn’t see why he should sit around the table with people who were trying to put him out of business,” said former Millward Brown charts director Bob Barnes. “But he came along, realised that his issues were the same as theirs and soon became more and more involved.”
Quirk’s profile increased dramatically through the '90s when then Music Week editor – now consultant to ERA – Steve Redmond commissioned him to write a regular column, Paul’s Quirks, about life in an indie retailer.
“We were introduced by Factory Records’ Tony Wilson,” said Redmond. “You can’t imagine two more different people – Tony, a TV presenter, an intellectual, the arch Mancunian and Paul, the chippy, Scouse, indie retailer – but they got on well.”
Paul Quirk joined the ERA board in 1997, becoming deputy to chairman Steve Knott, then of HMV, in 2003.
His tenure included a tough period for physical retail, as CD sales were eroded by piracy and then by the growth of downloads.
In 2008, Quirk was presented with a special recognition award for services to music retailing at the Music Week Awards.
Alongside Spencer Hickman of Rough Trade and Steve Redmond of ERA, Quirk was a driving force behind Record Store Day, which launched in the UK in 2011.
When Quirk stepped down as chairman of ERA in 2014, his successor Raoul Chatterjee, said: “Paul Quirk has been an exceptional chairman of ERA, a doughty fighter for the interests of retailers and has guided ERA as it has transformed itself into a diverse campaigning organisation representing both physical and digital retailers and digital services. In particular he deserves praise for embracing Record Store Day and helping turn it into the most successful new music promotion for at least 20 years.”
Quirk continued to work with ERA’s independent members on Record Store Day for another four years.
Record Store Day coordinator Megan Page said: “I met Paul on my first day at ERA sic years ago and worked with him closely ever since. He was a passionate supporter of the indie record store sector, a huge driving force behind RSD but most importantly a loyal mentor and friend to me personally. I’m so sad and will miss him dearly.”