British indie music labels suffer as rioters burn warehouse

10th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

British independent music labels said Wednesday they had suffered a "disaster" after rioters torched a Sony-owned distribution centre in London and destroyed their entire CD stocks.

The blaze late Monday ripped through the huge 20,000 sq metre (215,000 sq ft) warehouse in the north London district of late Monday and a pall of smoke was still rising from the burned-out site on Wednesday.

The warehouse is used to store Sony CDs, DVDs and PlayStation games.

But it also houses stock for around 150 independent music labels such as XL and Domino, who are behind acts including Grammy-winning British singer Adele and rockers Arctic Monkeys.

"This is a disaster for the music community," said Alison Wenham, who chairs Britain's Association of Independent Music.

London-based singer-songwriter Mara Carlyle said she had lost the entire stock of her latest record, which was originally due to come out in 2008 but had been put back to August this year after financial problems at record label EMI.

"It's pretty devastating," Carlyle told AFP.

"I spoke to someone today who has lost £100,000 (115,000 euros, $162,000) worth of stock and he said that is nothing compared to some people. Some people have lost millions, and in an industry that is not exactly solid on its feet."

But Carlyle, who works at a youth centre in north London, urged people not to use the riots that have swept Britain for the last four nights as an excuse to "demonise" what she said were likely underprivileged groups of society.

The PIAS group, Britain's largest independent sales, marketing and distribution company for record companies, said it was working with Sony to deal with the situation.

"These times are difficult for us, our artists, our labels and the whole indie sector which we vastly represent but we are determined to come out of this setback in the best way possible," said PIAS boss Kenny Gates.

Sony said it was "unable to confirm the extent of the damage or the cause until the fire is fully extinguished and a full investigation can be carried out by the authorities."

© 2011 AFP

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