The U.K.'s indie sector is pulling together to help support labels devastated by the August 8 Sony DADC warehouse fire, which saw 25 million discs destroyed.
A support fund has been established by AIM, the U.K.'s Trade Association for the Independent Music Industry, and PIAS, which handled stock for over 150 labels and lost 3.2 million units in the blaze. Three teenagers have since been arrested in connection with the incident.
"PIAS have been overwhelmed by the response and incredible support offered to both ourselves and the labels that we represent here in the U.K.," read an official statement from the Brussels-based company."Whilst it is expected that insurance will cover the lost stock, the reality for many labels is that they will not be compensated or insured for an interruption of trade or the additional capital to reproduce the stock that they have lost and the promotion in which they have invested."
Information on the fund is available from AIM's website. Anyone wishing to contact PIAS and AIM in respect to this fund should email: [email protected]
A campaign called LabelLove has been created in an effort to raise money for the labels affected by the fire.
Labels will be able to draw from the fund to help them get back them on their feet and cover the interruption to their business, reads an accompanying statement from AIM. The fund is being provided by "some of AIM's larger member labels, other well wishers and from AIM's reserves, and will be made available to affected smaller labels pro-rata to labels' [PIAS] turnover this year, as required." Total initial funds available are £250,000 ($405,000) and will be made available as interest-free and security-free loans repayable within a year.
"The independents will survive this disaster, as they have survived other business challenges," said Alison Wenham, Chairman and CEO of AIM, in a statement. "We represent a community which has a mutual respect for the work of all indie labels, be they large or small, and the industry needs to nurture and protect these small companies in times like this. We wish to thank everyone in the community for their generous and unfettered support," Wenham went on to say.
"Larger labels are much better resourced to weather this storm - but small and new labels are the future and need support from their peers to see them through this crisis," said Martin Mills, Chairman of the Beggars Group, which represents XL Recordings, 4AD, Matador and Rough Trade.
Daniel Miller, the founder of London-based indie Mute, has also pledged his support to the fund. "It is crucial that the independent community stands together to ensure the ongoing business of the labels so badly affected," he said in a statement.
Alongside the newly-established fund, PIAS has implemented several measures - in addition to re-pressing key lines for a wide number of indies - to support labels adversely affected by the Enfield, North London fire, which is still smoldering more than three days since it was first set ablaze. Builders are presently dismantling the building's remains, allowing London fire brigade to access the few deep seated pockets of fire that remain.
Included among the measures and initiatives introduced by PIAS are:
• The securing of preferential rates with suppliers for affected labels.
• Encouraging digital retail initiatives to drive and promote digital sales whilst physical stocks replenish.
• Conducting negotiations to reduce fees that might be charged to labels in the normal course of business.
Kenny Gates, PIAS Co-Founder and CEO, said in a statement: "The fund that is being put together in a matter of hours by [PIAS] and AIM demonstrates once again the strength and solidarity in the independent music community."
"PIAS will carry on engaging, helping and supporting its labels and artists in every way possible. I am very confident that our combined efforts will result in the smallest interruption to our collective business. Again the compassion of our recording artists, our labels and the industry wide support is amazing," Gates went on to say.