There are a lot of things to be angry and upset about when it comes to the recent riots across the UK.
First and foremost, of course, is the senseless loss of life; three men were tragically mown down while trying to defend their area, and I believe there have been other fatal incidents. There was also the destruction of people’s houses and communities. My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones or their homes.
Businesses have also been attacked, and, as a musician and music lover, there was a particular sting when it was reported that the Sony DADC warehouse was razed to the ground. This warehouse wasn’t just used by Sony, it also held the stock of independent distributor PIAS, who work with many of the UK’s independent record labels.
The other night I accidentally ended up in a political discussion in a pub (yep, you’re right – this is never a good idea), and when I mentioned the PIAS warehouse, the bloke I was talking to just said ‘yeah, but all that stock is insured’ and dismissed my concerns.
Well, I hope that he was right – but even so, things are never that simple:
Indie labels work hard to promote and develop new and interesting artists, and their target markets are those who are more likely to appreciate a physical release – they are CD collectors and vinyl junkies, so a loss of stock is going to cause a very real problem. The Guardian Music Blog posted a very informative article explaining why:
“even if a label’s stock is covered, getting the insurance money may take a long time, which is a big problem for labels operating on a shoestring budget and therefore obliged to contend with cashflow issues.” (from aforementioned Guardian blog)
And it’s not just the labels that have an issue, independent record shops may also suffer with difficulties getting hold of back-catalogues.
Thankfully, and with a lot of hard work, PIAS has come up with a plan to try to limit the damage. Kenny Gates, CEO, made this statement on the PIAS website:
“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… 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.”
Difficult times indeed.