Yesterday, we reported that a Sony/PIAS distribution warehouse was burned to the ground in a North London riot, resulting in catastrophic losses for nearly 200 independent labels. The Chicago Reader reports that Thrill Jockey “estimates wholesale losses of £189,000 (more than $300,000), with anywhere from ten to a hundred copies of each of the label’s 280 back-catalog titles destroyed” — and that’s just for a Chicago label. Labels based in the UK like Ninja Tune and Beggars Group (which includes Matador, 4AD, Rough Trade, XL, etc.) used the warehouse exclusively and lost 100% of their stock.
Even if your feelings about the riots are mixed, this tangential destruction is a shame by anyone’s measure, and it would be wrong to ignore the plight of labels that support and represent countless artists that we cover here at TMT. So to help rebuild what was lost, a number of campaigns (and excellent suggestions) are bouncing around the internet with an aim to help these labels get back on their feet.
— LabelLove is in the process of being set up as a support fund for PIAS-distributed labels, with further plans to organize a series of live benefit events. You can follow their progress on Twitter, or inquire about other ways to help by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
— The best way to help out a label you love is to buy something from them directly; PIAS lists all the labels they distribute, and Drowned in Sound founder Sean Adams has put together a spreadsheet of this list along with their attendant websites/stores and the artists they represent.
— Manchester-based indie online retailer Boomkat has set up a page listing every PIAS-distributed item for sale on their site (129 pages worth), encouraging people to buy digital albums to help the labels recoup necessary manufacturing expenses.
— The Quietus has put together a list of 20 recommended albums to purchase digitally from some of the affected labels.
— Finally, if you want to help the city of London in general, riot cleanups are being organized in a number of areas.
[Photo: Suzanne Plunkett]