A great number of the UK’s independent rock and metal labels are facing financial ruin after fires started in the London riots destroyed a warehouse used as a distribution base for CDs and DVDs. Sony DADC warehouse partially collapsed, its entire stockhouse eliminated.
The warehouse building in Enfield, North London, was robbed by an estimated two dozen looters on the third night of violence in England's capital, who set it on fire before moving on to other targets. The losses will be partly covered by insurance, though a great number of struggling independent labels may not be able to survive the loss of cash flow and delays in business payments.
The death of a 29-year-old man in a police shooting incident has led to five straight days of chaos in London, with rampant looting, violence and arson underway. Nearly 500 arrests have been made and over 13,000 police officers have reportedly been deployed to deal with rioting that has spread to Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol.
The 60,000 square-foot Sony building housed inventory for many well-known independent music labels, and was owned by Sony DADC and used by the Pias Group, one of the country’ biggest distributors of independent products. Among the labels potentially impacted are Domino, 4AD, Warp, and Beggars Banquet, along with a barrage of smaller imprints.
Watch a BBC news report featuring footage of the building on fire:
The head of PIAS Group, one of the UK’s leading independent distributors, who work with acts including Frank Turner and Seasick Steve, says: “I can confirm the warehouse burned to the ground and Sony holds PIAS stock. In terms of the impact to us, the situation remains to be clarified.”
Turner comments: “Oh well, there goes independent labels. F**k.”
Norman Records, who say PIAS is their largest supplier, reported the news on their Facebook.
"Dreadful news from the rioting in London last night," they wrote. "Many of the labels like 4AD, Domino, Warp, Rock Action, Matador etc will probably have had their UK stock destroyed. Obviously this will have a massive effect on the music industry (and us). Our thoughts go out to all of those who've lost their jobs and livelihoods from this. Only time will tell what the knock on effect will be…"
Musicians Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand and James McMorrow tweeted about the fire.
"Thoughts go out to all the labels who have lost their stock in Pias fire," Kapranos wrote.
"Sony DADC burnt to the ground last night, PIAS holds it's record stock there, absolutely devastating potentially to so many indie labels," McMorrow tweeted.
To support the local music market and the labels thrown into crisis by the fire, head to BoomKat.com to learn what you can do to help (hint: buying music from these imprints has never been more needed).