As has been widely reported, the UK’s largest independent entertainment distributor, PIAS, suffered the complete loss of stock in an enormous warehouse in North London amidst rioting in the neighborhood. Impacted is stock not only in music, but independent film, too. The warehouse is owned by Sony DADC, but the impacted stock is owned by distributor PIAS and covers some 150 record labels (see list below), from big names to tiny – and more vulnerable – outlets.
While details on insurance coverage and timing are largely forthcoming, the more urgent problem is that – insurance payments or no – the loss of significant portions or even all stock for many smaller record labels impacts their ability to operate. Because producing something like a CD or vinyl requires manufacturing, lead time, and shipping logistics, the event could have a devastatingly constraining effect on the ability of these labels to sell physical music.
Some relevant coverage:
Independent music labels left ‘devastated’ by riot fire [BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat]
Sony/PIAS Warehouse Burnt Down in UK Riots [Pitchfork]
On the film side: British film distributors left reeling by financial impact of Sony/PIAS warehouse fire [The Guardian]
Via Twitter, Rough Trade Shops are following events and encouraging volunteers to work on cleanup and fundraising efforts. The focus remains on the immediate safety of artists and staff, naturally, for all London’s arts institutions, and thankfully, while the loss of physical music was devastating, no injuries were reported.
Here’s the latest update from PIAS, as of Tuesday pm:
Latest update – Sony DADC have actioned their Business Continuity Plan and are back up and running from a new control room in Enfield. PIAS continue to work with them to minimise the impact on the business, a number one priority for all our labels and clients. Sony DADC have identified a temporary distribution partner and it is envisaged that they will be in a position to pick, pack and ship orders in the course of next week.
This follows an earlier statement regarding a fire last night at the SonyDADC warehouse, which services the physical distribution for PIAS in the UK and Ireland. PIAS’s UK offices in London and all other areas of our business are unaffected.
Further details will follow tomorrow morning, Wednesday.
We wish to thank everyone for the overwhelming messages of support.
Follow PIAS directly for the latest official statements:
Benefit plans are thus far mostly at a placeholder status, but there’s reason to believe that the future of a number of the UK’s record labels could be endangered by events.
In addition to a direct fund, simply buying digital releases from these labels could help – and illustrates that having digital revenues can be a way to resist catastrophic problems elsewhere.
AIM urges fans to buy digital and help out indies affected by warehouse fire [MusicWeek]
Our friend TRICIL is already using the Topspin platform in order to give away his entire 47-track discography in exchange for a donation that will support the recovery of these labels.
Some of those record labels:
[PIAS] Recordings Belgium
Ancient & Modern
Angular Recording Corporation
Asthmatic Kitty Records
Atlantic Jaxx Recordings
Balling The Jack
Battered Ornaments Records
Bright Star Recordings
Broken Sound Music
Brothers and Sisters
Chalkmark / IE
Chemikal Underground Records
Dance To The Radio
Defenders Ent UK
Divine Comedy Records
Double Six Records
Drive Thru Records
Drowned In Sound
Eat Sleep Records
Finders Keepers Records
Friends Vs Records
Full Time Hobby
Gang Of Four Recordings
Hem Hem Records
KMS Records / Fabric
Little Sister Recordings
Low Life Records
Lucky Number Music
Lucky Seven Records
Metric Music International
One Four Seven Records Ltd
One Little Indian
People In The Sky
Pirates Blend Records Inc
Play It Again Sam
Red Cord Records
Rock Action Records
Rough Trade Records
Search and Destroy
Slam Dunk Records
Soul Jazz Records
Southern Fried Records
Stereo Bang Media
Touch & Go Records
Twisted Nerve Recordings
Wall of Sound
We Love You
Willkommen Records Ltd
Xtra Mile Recordings
PIAS also shares music on SoundCloud:
Updated: Wednesday Statement from PIAS
Kenny Gates, PIAS’ Founder & CEO, posts an updated message today. He notes that all PIAS staff are okay, and reiterates that SONY DADC, not PIAS, actually owns the warehouse; PIAS contracts with SONY in order to house their product for distribution.
As you have noticed in our last note , Sony DADC have been remarkably quick and efficient to put together a contingency plan that should allow us to ship to stores sometime next week. We are impressed by their efficiency and that is good news.
These times are difficult for us, our artists, our labels and the whole indie sector which we vastly represent but we are determined to come out of this setback in the best way possible.
The PIAS team has been working around the clock to limit the damage . We know that the livelihood of many talented, passionate and hard working music people, artists and small and bigger labels is at stake and depend on our actions and those of Sony DADC.
We have been getting a lot of words of support and offers of help and that truly helps.
Thank you to everybody who cares and supports PIAS and the indie sector.
Read the full statement:
CDM has gotten no further word on efforts to support the labels, so our view is that the best course of action is to wait on additional information.
Updated: Answers on Fundraising Efforts from Organizers
Representatives of Label Love have answered CDM questions and explained why labels are in need, how fundraising efforts are working, and what you might do to help:
In Wake of London Fire, Organizers Answers Questions About Supporting Indie Labels [CDM]