Record Labels Hit Hard as Fire Set by London Rioters Destroys WarehouseBy JAMES C. MCKINLEY JR.
Independent music labels were hit hard after rioters in London set fire to a 215,000-square-foot warehouse owned by the Sony Corporation on Monday night, destroying vast amounts of compact discs, vinyl albums and other stock, Reuters and the BBC reported.
The fire at the warehouse in the London neighborhood of Enfield started about 11:30 p.m., and the entire structure was gutted by Tuesday morning, according to a statement from Sony quoted by The Financial Times. “The fire is under control but can be described as smoldering, consequently no one can enter the facility,” said the statement, which was released on Tuesday morning. “Therefore at this time we are unable to confirm the extent of the damage.”
The Sony warehouse was the main distribution hub for PIAS, the biggest distributor of independent labels in the Britain and Ireland. More than a dozen influential labels lost stock in the fire, among them Sub Pop, Beggars Group, Domino, Warp, XL and Soul Jazz. Although the extent of the damage remained unclear, officials at PIAS said it was extensive. “I can confirm that the Sony DADC warehouse in Enfield did burn to the ground,” Darren Hemmings, the head of digital marketing for PIAS, said in a Twitter message. People in the music business feared the worst. Twitter was flooded with messages from small labels, like One Little Indian and Memphis Industries, saying they had lost everything.
Speaking to the BBC, Spencer Hickman, an official at the Rough Trade East record store in London, said the fire could wipe out many small labels and would cripple the distribution of others. “It’s complete chaos,” he said. “We don’t know how long it’s going to take them to get back on their feet.”
There was little doubt some albums would not be available in stores as a result. A statement from Domino Records said the release of the Arctic Monkeys’ single “The Hellcate Spangled Shalala” would be delayed. “While relieved that no one was injured in the incident, we’re upset about the loss and destruction of our stock,” the label said in its statement, reported by New Music Express.