Sony warehouse torched in London riots; Beggars, 4AD, Rough Trade records burn

The ongoing rioting in London struck a potentially devastating blow to the U.K.’s independent record labels last night when a 200,000-square-foot Sony DADC warehouse went up in flames, destroying countless records and CDs distributed by the PIAS Group on behalf of scores of indie labels including such famed imprints as Beggars Banquet, 4AD, Mute and Rough Trade.

Those larger independent labels won’t be as badly hurt, Beggars Group chairman Martin Mills tells Music Week, because they keep stock at other locations around Europe. But dozens of smaller labels — see a full list here — may have had their entire physical inventory wiped out in the blaze, which resulted in no injuries

Industry analyst Paul Scaife tells The Guardian that the Sony fire could crush smaller labels: “Physical retail is still absolutely crucial to many in the independent sector and if — as seems quite likely — several smaller labels aren’t covered by insurers, this could be the difference between survival and going out of business.”

Reissue imprint Beggars Archive this morning posted on its blog that “all our U.K. stock is gone,” but that the label is “remanufacturing as rapidly as possible” and moving stock from Europe to cover. The label says the fire will impact catalog availability, “but fortunately the This Mortal Coil boxes and Throwing Muses sets are still in transit, so we haven’t lost those.”

In response to the fire, the U.K.’s Association of Independent Music is calling on fans to buy downloads from U.K. digital retailers: “This way, the labels will be able to remanufacture their CDs and vinyl more quickly, to resupply the record shops who are also affected by the riots.”

 

 

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10 Comments

  • If any of this is insured then these labels are gonna make BANK!

     
  • What is this world coming to?

     
  • Sad, if it is indeed true. It may also be a marketing scheme or perhaps even worse a scheme to get people to go digital with downloads. Not physical product means more profit on the label’s behalf. Let’s hope their reasons are actually legit.

     
    • Michael Toland

      Dude, seriously? Have you not been watching the news? This is no marketing scheme. Sheesh, and I thought I was cynical.

       
      • Sorry Toland. It’s just hard not top be cynical these days with the music industry the way it is. I’ve watched nearly every record store I ever went to shut down in my area due in part to the digital download age.

         
    • years later

      I know you might have an entirely different perspective now, but I think that you’re forgetting that the people who were hit hardest by this were small, independent record labels. All Sony did was help distribute their titles. These are people who were adversely affected entirely sympathize with your sentiment towards the digital age.

       
  • Would it be tasteless to suggest queueing up The Clash’s first album. London’s burning with boredom now. Maybe hate and war is all we have today.

     
  • Sorry if my post seemed flippant in tone. I was sincere.

    Art does help us deal with the world as it is. And I think the music we discuss on this site is art.

    The Clash mapped the psychology of this sort of social unrest as few other have.

    If the suggestion of listening to the album now is offensive, then it was distasteful for the clash to write the album.

    Cheers,

    Damo

     
  • Sorry if my post seemed flippant in tone. I was sincere.

    Art does help us deal with the world as it is. And I think the music we discuss on this site is art.

    The Clash mapped the psychology of this sort of social unrest as few other have.

    If the suggestion of listening to the album now is offensive, then it was distasteful for the clash to write the album.

    Cheers,

    Damo

     
 

 

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