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]

Sony: London warehouse fire may affect UK deliveries [Reuters]

Independent record labels fear ruinous stock loss in London riots fire [The Guardian]

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
[PIAS] Recordings Belgium
A Camp
Absynthe Minded
AEI Music
Air Recordings
ALC Music
Ambush Reality
Ancient & Modern
Angular Recording Corporation
Arcady Records
Ark Recordings
Asthmatic Kitty Records
Atlantic Jaxx Recordings
Bad Magic
Balling The Jack
Banquet Records
Battered Ornaments Records
Beggars Banquet
Best Before
Big Brother
Big Dada
Bird Records
Bloody Chamber
Blowout Music
Blue Chopsticks
Border Community
Borstal Beats
Boysnoize Records
Bright Star Recordings
Broken Sound Music
Brothers and Sisters
Brownswood Recordings
Buzzin’ Fly
Cache Cache
Cadenza Records
Celluloid Records
Chalkmark / IE
Chemikal Underground Records
Control Tower
Counter Records
Dance To The Radio
Dead Oceans
Defenders Ent UK
Dirtee Stank
Divine Comedy Records
Domino Records
Double Six Records
Drag City
Drive Thru Records
Drowned In Sound
Dummy Records
Eat Sleep Records
Fabric Worldwide
Fake Diamonds
Fatcat Records
Finders Keepers Records
Flock Music
Flying Circus
Freerange Records
Friends Vs Records
Full Pupp
Full Time Hobby
Gang Of Four Recordings
Ghost Ship
Glaze Recordings
Groenland Records
Hardly Art
Hassle Records
Hem Hem Records
HFN Music
KMS Records / Fabric
Laughing Stock
Lex Records
Little Sister Recordings
LO-MAX Records
Loose Music
Lovepump United
Low Life Records
Lucky Number Music
Lucky Seven Records
Memphis Industries
Metric Music International
Metroline Limited
Model Citizen
Motion Audio
MyMajorLabel Ltd
Ninja Tune
No Quarter
Nusic Sounds
One Four Seven Records Ltd
One Little Indian
Peartree Records
People In The Sky
People Tree
Pirates Blend Records Inc
Planet Function
Play It Again Sam
Poker Flat
Polyvinyl Records
Poseidon Records
Post Present
Raw Canvas
Red Cord Records
Rekords Rekords
Reveal Records
Riverman Records
Rock Action Records
Roots Records
Rough Trade Records
Sea Note
Search and Destroy
Secretly Canadian
SideOneDummy Records
Silva Screen
Slam Dunk Records
Sonic Cathedral
Soul Jazz Records
South Paw
Southern Fried Records
Stereo Bang Media
Stolen Recordings
Stranger Records
Sub Pop
Suicide Squeeze
Sunday Best
Thrill Jockey
Too Pure
Torque Records
Touch & Go Records
Transmission Recordings
Tri Tone
Trouble Records
True Panther
Try Harder
Twisted Nerve Recordings
Universal Sound
Victory Records
Wall of Sound
We Love You
Willkommen Records Ltd
Xtra Mile Recordings
Yaala Yaala
Young Turks

PIAS also shares music on SoundCloud:

Latest tracks by PIAS Entertainment

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]

  • It looks like the donation page has crashed. Please bear with us, there's a lot of attention on this right now, I'll update appropriately.

  • I know that a lot of the affected labels sell online tracks at – this might be a good way of directly supporting the labels during this time.

  • Peter Kirn

    Absolutely — and going to someone like Bleep is *always* a good way to support indie labels and artists that are signed to them. πŸ˜‰

  • i recognize some of these labels and i've purchased from them…but i have questions about what exactly the donation dollars are going towards…We're talking about lost stock that was due to be shipped to retailers, right?  Are some of these labels uninsured?  ANd who is organizing this fundraising?

    i think a little more transparency and a clear plan for disbursements is required *before* slapping up a paypal link and asking for money.

  • Peter Kirn

    Justin, I agree; researching that.

  • linewireink

    there are larger issues at stake here then material goods… the riots are a symptom of a larger issue… I feel it is in bad taste for record labels to crying about this during the time… did all the record shops cry in NYC after
    9-11 devastated the economy? no offense here peter but just reading this post made me feel icky about the music industry as a whole… to be thinking about these things when people are smashing up a city because they are tired of being oppressed… sort of makes me feel like people need to get their priorities sorted out. 

  • @LWI

    i'll say that most benefit albums are tacky, whether it be monome users for japan quake recovery, or Micheal Jackson for world hunger.  but if people think it's the best way to help out, then so be it.  i just want some transparency so i know it's more than just a way for people to distribute their own tunes with a thin veneer of philanthropy.

    but i'll point out that people in syria, libya, egypt, burma are standing up to oppression in their own countries and they are doing it without smashing into an H&M and making off with skinny denim.  the rioting in england has nothing to oppression and is just criminality by dead-end fuckwits (pardon my english). 

  • Peter Kirn

    The labels are not crying about anything.

    PIAS responded to widespread inquiry as the news of the event spread through social networking sites, etc. I think if you read their statement, it's pretty narrowly-focused.

    That's why I'm not personally advocating any fundraisers, etc.; there's just not enough information that it's actually needed. But there have been some organic, grassroots efforts and spontaneous support.

    I think that support is okay — running small businesses, independent media distribution is difficult. I agree it should be kept in perspective, of course, but that doesn't necessarily mean dismissing it entirely.

    I'm not going to comment on the motives of rioters or underlying challenges in the UK; I think that's way out of the scope of this site or my own expertise. πŸ˜‰ Suffice to say, any time this happens, I think it's fairly safe to go out on a limb and say something has fallen apart in the civic society.

  • Hillary Bloch

    Firstmost, my very sincere respect goes to all who have labored to help the underrepresented, the disenfranchised and the downtrodden, such as, the many independent artists in music and film who have placed consciousness, communication and the the spark of sociopolitical representation far ahead of the rather quite less-nimble-consciousness that  larger organizations and business can manage.   I also include Peter Kirn for having consistently provided thoughtful pieces such as "AUG 9 2011:  In Detroit’s Ruins, A Look at an Electronic Music Revolution".  If music were not resonant with communities, would it be worthwhile music after all?   

    While there is ample evidence that the disadvantaged and the victimized all too often go on to disenfranchise and victimize others in turn, a true perversion of Jungian transference, I will never be one to sympathize or ponder the internal machinations of any who resort to violence.   I have no interest in the psychology of executioners of la Terreur, the Great Purge, the national socialists staging Kristallnacht, Hutu perpetrators or the Janjawid militias.  I find it personally distateful to hear cries of social injustice that only begin after the violence has begun.   

  • linewireink

    I guess the senseless brutality of black youths by London Police that has gone on for decades now with little to no recourse, Police killing people with no recourse, living as 4th world people with in the 1st world all dont count as enough reason to smash things up? sometimes you need to throw a brick to have your voice heard! this is a perfect example of that… the most recent police brutality that resulted in a kid getting shot in the face and killed which sparked these riots was just the straw that broke the camels back. simple as that… if you run a business, stuff like this can happen its why there is insurance to cover it … using it as an excuse to distribute your own music through some "benefit" is in poor taste, using it as an excuse to collect money under the cover of a "benefit" is as low as the looters who stole stuff from the shops…
    there is an issue in the UK not the same as is going on in the middle east maybe similar to that of the people who rioted in detroit or LA in past decades but there is an under lying issue of oppression here… Im a child of a holocaust survivor and even I who uses that world lightly as I know what true oppression is can tell you from my own research of police brutality in the UK that it goes on daily if not hourly in some parts of London and goes on with out any legal recourse! that is oppression when one group is targeted by another and the other can do what ever they like. When there is that kind of oppression violence and riots will occur….
    PS This is in no way an attack on any one especially not on the GREAT work peter does with CDM

  • Benny

    I wonder if all the people who donate to save PIAS and make fund raiser album also donate to fund raisers for the Horn of Africa… I will not donate to PIAS, they have their insurance to cover the damage.

    @linewireink: protesting to have your voice heard is one thing, burning down a city and senseless rioting is a whole other level! This is not the way to get your voice heard!

  • The L.A. riots of 1992 had a profound impact on music in Southern California. Many now famous artists "came up" during the riots..

  • Peter Kirn

    Just to be clear — I have not heard from either PIAS or any of the labels distributed by them that anyone is asking for funds. That's not why I wasn't, and CDM isn't, endorsing fundraisers. I'm reporting on TRICIL's effort because it's out there; that's neither an endorsement nor a counter-endorsement. His heart seems to be in it, and he researched to his satisfaction the situation and his response, which is his prerogative.

    My current understanding of the situation is that labels and the distributor are *not* yet requesting funds, at least not formally. There was a call for volunteers to help on recovery locally in London. (And, hey, insurance or no, if someone burns your house down you might ask friends for help!)

    Furthermore, to be clear, this is a SONY-owned space, so insurance would go through them. 

    I'm researching what the reasoning was behind fundraising efforts and who may or may not be asking for funds, why, and how those funds would be used.

    The music model is changing; a lot of music is pay-what-you-will (I just did a release this way). So we're talking a pass-the-hat style of music. 

    I certainly don't see any harm in going out of your way to splurge on music downloads from excellent labels that you love. I think it's a healthy way to spend spare cash and express a love for music; I'm biased by how much I enjoy it myself.

    You might leave a generous tip at a restaurant you love; it doesn't mean you can't also donate some income to a worthy organization that works on hunger.

  • ohgeez

    "the most recent police brutality that resulted in a kid getting shot in the face and killed which sparked these riots was just the straw that broke the camels back."

    Do you mean Mark Duggan? He was shot in the chest. And was 29. (

    Side note: it is a sad world.

  • Peter Kirn

    Here we go — this was the information I was awaiting. And yes, based on what UK bloggers in this group are saying, it does appear that labels could use your support.

    This means if there's a label you love on the list, of course, especially if it's a small label, buying digital direct or through a boutique online reseller is also a great way to show them that love.

  • peter,
    thanks for doing the footwork on it.  i dont have problems with CDM covering this and since i read the article to begin with, i know CDM is not promoting, but rather covering.

  • SK

    Sad. An entire generation of boys who haven't got a chance in heck of ever becoming Men.

    They're not poor, they're not oppressed.

    They're infantile. Chronically, irreversably infantile. "I WANT!" Is all they know how to say, and the cradle-to-grave 'safety nets' are there to enable them in this fantasy.

    Kick out the crutches and slash the nets. Then, perhaps, some healing and growing can begin.