Indie Label Distribution Center Burned to Ground in London

Indie label distribution center burns in london riots

Sony and PIAS distribution center in London, in flames. Thanks for pic, Pitchfork

As London is in the midst of figuring out what the hell just happened, the news of England’s largest independent music label distribution center burning to ashes made it’s way across the Atlantic and into my email inbox.

On Tuesday morning, the second night of rioting in London, the Sony/PIAS distribution center in Enfield was set on fire and burned to the ground. All stock was lost. Among that stock was CDs and vinyl from labels Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Matador, XL, Rough Trade, my beloved 4AD, and Subpop. Full list of labels affected by London fire, compliments of Pitchfork.

I’m relieved to report that the new box sets from Throwing Muses and This Mortal Coil were unaffected by the fire as they were in transit at the time. More from Beggars Banquet on their recovery from the loss.

Many small indie labels may not be able to recover from such a total loss. In a post entitled [PIAS] & AIM Establish Fund for Labels Adversely Affected By The Sony DADC Fire the UK Association of Independent Music is encouraging indie music fans to purchase digital copies of music on the labels’ websites. I’ve read that a few fund raising concerts are being planned as well.

Other Music wrote the following, and I agree whole-heartedly:

We were deeply saddened earlier this week when we learned that the PIAS distribution warehouse in London had been destroyed in a fire during the riots. This was a crucial storage and shipping hub in the UK for so many of the great independent labels whose music is so important to us (and to anyone reading this Update) — we’re just thankful that no one was injured in the blaze. Along with all of the terrible violence and turmoil currently raging in Britain, this monumental setback for so many passionate and forward-thinking labels and artists should give any thinking person pause, and our hearts go out to all those touched by this senseless destruction.

I’ve been keeping my eye on the stories of rioting and looting and general mayhem coming out of London all week. I spent a semester there in college, and lived not far from Tottenham. My experience with the English has always been one of good manners, self-deprecating humor, and a quiet civility1. I’ve read books about footballers and hooligans, and have crossed paths with some very obnoxious British tourists2, but overall am surprised to find out how bad it has gotten over there.

A couple criminologists were interviewed by the BBC and have theories around why and how the riots started and, more surprisingly, how they have kept on going night after night. They mention everything from lack of strong father figures to welfare dependency. If that’s the case, why isn’t every major US city filled with rioters every night? Hopefully the freshly holiday-ed PM will be able to pull it together somehow. He’s asking the US for advice… let’s see how that plays out.

Meanwhile, reach deep into the pockets of your skinny jeans and donate to the cause here: LabelLove has been set up to help out the indie music labels affected by the fire.
1 except after a few pints
2 I spent three summers wearing polyester Lederhosen at Busch Gardens in swampy southern Virginia.

1 Comment

  1. Wow, I had no idea that this was among the riot’s casualties. Those are among my favorite labels, big argh. Yay for This Mortal Coil box set safety though. Wee bright sides.


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