While the loss of human life due to the riots is the most tragic, the independent music industry and music fans around the world have taken a hit with the burning of the warehouse where 165 labels stored stock.
The Sony warehouse was the main distribution hub for PIAS, the biggest distributor of independent labels in Britain and Ireland. More than a dozen influential labels lost stock in the fire, among them Sub Pop, Beggars Group, Domino, Warp, XL and Soul Jazz. Although the extent of the damage remained unclear, officials at PIAS said it was extensive. “I can confirm that the Sony DADC warehouse in Enfield did burn to the ground,” Darren Hemmings, the head of digital marketing for PIAS, said in a Twitter message.
Many of the smaller record labels don’t have multiple distribution points, and kept significant amounts, if not all, of their stock in one place. This means that with the destruction of the warehouse could very easily come the destruction of some of the smaller labels. If the labels don’t go under, there is still a significant loss to back catalogs and will delay release of upcoming tracks and albums.
Some of those affected: Wall of Sound, XL Recordings, Beggars, Domino, Sunday Best, Big Brother, and Warp. Big name artists on those labels: Adele, Arctic Monkeys, The White Stripes, Björk, and Stephen Merritt.
While many people buy music online (and doing so is a recommended way to help the indie labels – see below), according to the Content Lab: “…only 29 percent of global record-company revenue came from digital channels last year. Translation: 71 percent of music consumers — the ones who pay for it, anyway — are still buying CDs.”
If you’re interested in helping support the independent record labels, buy a digital version of one of their artist’s albums. A complete list of affected companies can be found at MusicIndie.