Pickwick has recently celebrated its fiftieth year, having been originally formed in 1962. Over the course of that half century, the company has often been at the forefront of the British music market. From humble beginnings in the West End of London, Pickwick grew into the largest player in the budget field, one of the first companies to launch a dedicated budget label (Hallmark), subsequently offering the expertise learnt to such major companies as CBS, RCA and Walt Disney. Pickwick was one of the first companies to have in place exclusive licensing deals with the major record companies, one of the first to embrace the then new medium of the compact disc, the first to release product directly aimed at the children’s market and undertaking an extensive classical recording programme that was the envy of the industry.
There have been many changes over the course of fifty years, both in the industry in general and Pickwick in particular. The company has been independent, launched itself on the stock market (another first), been absorbed into a major multinational company and, via a circuitous route, emerged as an independent once again, a status it has enjoyed for the last six years or so.
Pickwick has had to adapt to significant changes in the industry over the last ten years or so, not least the emergence of new selling platforms, either for physical product (ebay, Amazon and Play.com for example) or digital (itunes and Amazon for example). It has also had to adapt its releases to fully capitalise on the advantages such new sales platforms offer, especially as the days of major licensing deals would seem to be a dim and distant memory.
However, Pickwick has continued to release product that is much in demand across its various labels (Pickwick and Hallmark for audio product, Pickwick Vision and Elstree Hill for audio/visual product), with an equally exciting range of products to come as the company heads into the fifty-first year of operation. Details of these exciting new releases, both imminent and to come during the course of the year, can be found elsewhere. In the meantime, it is time to raise a toast to Pickwick as it marks fifty not out!