Help Indie Labels After the PIAS Fire & Win Tickets to Laneway
Update: We're now offering the chance to win a ticket to next year's Laneway to anyone who's lent some financial support to labels since the fire. Check out the details at the bottom of the post.
The indie music community suffered a serious blow during the London riots, when fire destroyed Sony's DADC warehouse in Enfield. The Sony DADC warehouse contained the entire stock of PIAS Distribution, the biggest indie distributor in the UK and Ireland.
PIAS handle stock for pretty much every indie you can think of: Warp, Matador, Def Jux, Domino, 4AD, Rough Trade, XL, Thrill Jockey, Sub Pop, Bella Union. (Check out a full list here.) Thankfully, no one was hurt or injured in the fire. The loss of product, however, was massive: The Chicago Reader reported that Thrill Jockey's wholesale losses amounted to £189,000 (almost A$300,000) 'with anywhere from ten to a hundred copies of each of the label's 280 back-catalog titles destroyed'.
The Beggars Group, which includes Matador, XL, Rough Trade, 4AD and Young Turks, reported losses of 750,000 units; Warp reported on their website that they lost their whole back catalogue. Many labels reported similarly devastating losses.
In a statement, PIAS said that they plan to resume shipping stock to shops next week. 'The PIAS team has been working around the clock to limit the damage,' they wrote. '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.'
The situation is urgent to say the least. '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', Paul Scaife of Record Of The Day told The Guardian earlier this week.
What you can do
Labels and industry groups are calling on the many good people who love independent music to help these indie labels get back on their feet. You can do this by buying digital copies of albums, or by heading to your local record store and picking up what stock they have available.
Doing this will help the labels manufacture new stock and, hopefully, get everything back to normal as soon as possible. For some labels, it might mean the difference between staying alive and folding.
Whatever music you've been digging recently, do these labels a favour and go out and buy it. You'll be glad you did.
If you need some help on what to buy, the good folk at Quietus have put together a list of 20 recommended albums from affected labels.
Update: PIAS, in conjunction with the UK's Association of Independent Music, has issued a statement announcing the establishment of a fund to help the affected labels recover. You can donate to the fund here.
Three teenagers have also been arrested in relation to the fire.
Help out and win tickets to Laneway
As extra incentive to support the affected labels, we're offering up a ticket to the 2012 Laneway Festival.
Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with some kind of proof (a receipt or screen shot etc) that you've supported the affected labels in the last few days to the tune of $5 or more, either by buying some of their music or donating to the fund, and you'll go in the running to win a ticket to next year's festival in the city of your choice.
Hop to it!