London Warehouse Fire Badly Burns Indie Labels

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​The London riots began with a fatal police shooting, but the latest casualty may be independent record labels.

Protesters burned down a CD and vinyl stock warehouse in North London last night that was owned by Sony DADC and used by the PIAS Group, a marketing and distribution firm that works with over 200 labels, many of which are beloved U.S. and U.K. indies like XL, 4AD, Fact, Drag City, and Matador.

These labels are home to numerous S.F. and Bay Area artists, including Girls (True Panther), tUnE-yArDs (4AD), and Wooden Shjips (whose Thrill Jockey-released new album, West, may face a delayed release in the U.K. as a result of the fire). The massive three-story building, more than 200,000 square feet in size, also housed DVD stock.

No one was injured in the fire, but smaller labels worry they might not be able to afford to re-manufacture their lost inventories -- or survive months without sales. The Association of Independent Music is urging fans to support affected labels with much-needed revenue by buying digital downloads and records either directly from them or independent stores.

The fire threatens to disrupt release schedules on both sides of the Atlantic. Domino Records, planned to ship 7" vinyl copies of the Arctic Monkeys' new single, "The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala," to record stores on August 15. The fire destroyed all of the label's copies, however, so the single will only be available through the band's website, not in stores, according to the UK Guardian. Other affected labels include Accidental Records, Smalltown America, Duophonic, Fabric, and Big Dada.

[UK Guardian / Chicago Reader]

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