BPI Establishes Fund for Indie Labels Impacted By London Riots
BPI Establishes Fund for Indie Labels Impacted By London Riots

U.K. music trade body the BPI has set up a fund to help indie labels affected by last week's fire at the Sony DADC distribution centre in Enfield, London.

More than £100,000 ($163,350) is to be made available to U.K. imprints that lost stock in the blaze, which destroyed 25 million discs. The newly established fund follows the August 12 announcement of a similar initiative set up by AIM, the U.K.'s Trade Association for the Independent Music Industry, and PIAS, which lost 3.2 million units in the incident. AIM/PIAS's support fund totals £250,000 ($405,000) with monies made available as interest-free and security-free loans repayable within a year.

Support Fund Established for Labels Affected By Sony Warehouse Fire

Commenting on the BPI fund, which comprises individual donations from BPI members and BPI's own commercial revenues, Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive of the label's trade body, said in a statement: "The BPI is founded on the principle that majors and indies should work together and that a vibrant independent sector benefits the recorded music business as a whole."

"For that reason, I am delighted that independent and major members of BPI are showing their solidarity by creating a growing fund to assist indie labels that experience financial difficulties as a result of destruction of stock in the Sony DADC warehouse," Taylor went on to say. The BPI fund is to be made available as interest free loans to labels urgently leading financial assistance. It will be jointly administered by BPI and AIM.

Indie Labels Calculate the Damage From Sony's London Warehouse Fire

"We want indie labels to get back to normal business as quickly as possible," added Mike Batt, BPI Deputy Chairman, in a statement. "We are joining our funding up with AIM's initiative to ensure that those labels affected can afford to replace damaged stock and can focus on creating great music."

Following the warehouse fire, which took place at the start of last week when rioting broke out in multiple cities throughout the U.K., a number of additional relief funds have also been established. The LabelLove campaign (@_label_love_ ) was one of the first. iTunes has since set up a "Supporting Indie Music" page featuring albums by SBTRKT (Young Turks/XL Recordings), Bon Iver (4AD), Aphex Twin (Warp) and Dizzee Rascal (Dirtee Stank Recordings).

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The forthcoming release of Bjork's new album "Biophillia," which is due to bow September 26 in the United Kingdom via One Little Indian, will not be affected by the blaze, a spokesperson for London-based indie One Little Indian has confirmed.

The label has, however, been forced to delay the physical release of Astrid Williamson's "Pulse" (One Little Indian) by one week to August 29. The album's digital release will still take place on the original street date, August 22. Ninja Tune artist Toddla T has also seen the release of his album "Watch Me Dance" postponed by one week.

"We have been more fortunate perhaps than most as August is a quiet month," a spokesperson for One Little Indian/Fat Cat Records tells Billboard.biz. "We are obviously having to re-manufacture key catalogue titles, although we do have limited stock in our own warehouse to tide us over," the spokesperson continued, adding "our best wishes go out to all the other label affected, especially the smaller labels that are bound to be hit hardest."

The past few days has also seen a number of U.K. artists join the debate on what led to the riots, which resulted in five deaths and has led to over 2,700 arrests at press time.

Noel Gallagher, formerly of Oasis, told entertainment news agency Bang Showbiz that "brutal TV and videogames" were partly to blame.

"It's just violence for the sake of violence," he is quoted as saying. "The people who are at these riots aren't poor. These are kids with fucking mobile phones and all sorts of shit. The police and government have to take drastic measures. These idiots destroy their own communities. In six weeks, when everything is forgotten, they will look stupid and realize that the houses are still destroyed, burned down or whatever. These people aren't demanding anything, they have no goals. They just destroy their own shit. How stupid can you be?"

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, London-based MC Professor Green, meanwhile, expressed his belief that wider social causes were at the root of the unrest.

"What needs to be understood here is there is a lot of anger in the underclass, and a lot of the youth aren't quite sure where to aim their anger," he said. "There are also a lot of underprivileged children who've grown up without boundaries, without the love, care and education a child should have. We grow up with less than most, but at the same time have everything we don't have rubbed in our faces; we're desensitised to drug dealing, drug taking, stealing and violence from the moment we are allowed out to play, as it exists on our doorsteps."

Massive Attack's website also contained reaction to the riots with an anonymous blog entry, which lambasted "banks [that] looted the nation's wealth while destroying countless small businesses."