As the United Kingdom endured another night of civil unrest and rioting yesterday, the country's music industry begins to access the cost of the fire that destroyed Sony's London warehouse on Monday night.
As previously reported, the three-story London warehouse, owned by Sony DADC, was destroyed during the riots that have enflamed multiple cities in the U.K. The building was the main warehouse for indie distributor PIAS and contained 3.2 million of its CDs and vinyl units, according to the Brussels-based company. XL Recordings, 4AD, Beggars, Domino and Rough Trade, were among the 150-plus indie labels whose stock went up in flames.
Although London was relatively trouble free last night, rioters ran amok in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham, among other U.K. cities -- causing millions of pounds worth of damage.
Sony DADC today issued a business continuity plan following the blaze, which has left hundreds of indie labels devastated. According to a statement released by PIAS, the company is "back up and running from a new control room in Enfield" - the London borough where the original warehouse was located.
"Sony DADC have identified a temporary distribution partner [yet-to-be-announced] and it is envisaged that they will be in a position to pick, pack and ship orders in the course of next week," the statement continues.
"Our key focus at the moment is to get things re-manufactured and we are working with our labels on the best way of doing that is -- identifying which lines are turning over the fastest and getting them to start re-manufacturing again," Nick Hartley, chief operating officer of PIAS Entertainment Group, told Billboard.biz.
"At the same time we looking in our Brussels warehouse and [speaking to] other labels in Europe, if they don't go through us, to see what stock there is to be able to ship back from Europe into the U.K. in order to keep supplies going," he said.
According to Hartley, the present situation is aided by the fact that U.K. retailers typically "carry a reasonable amount of stock."
"Our biggest problem is going to be the depth of catalog," he said. "Remanufacturing and getting stock in [outlets] next week of the top several lines is do-able, but we had over 8,000 lines at Sony DADC. [As for] whether they will all ever be re-manufactured, there's obvious issues there and I think some of them will lose out in that process."
Yesterday, AIM, the U.K.'s Trade Association for the Independent Music Industry issued a statement calling on music fans to help support U.K. indies affected by the blaze. "This is a disaster for the music community, but with the fans' help, labels and artists will survive, said Alison Wenham, Chairman and CEO of AIM. "Please show your support for the music community by buying a digital album from an independent label today."
A campaign called LabelLove has been created in an effort to raise money for the labels affected by the fire.
U.K. labels trade body the BPI has additionally offered its support to the U.K. indie sector. "It is devastating for the labels affected, and we are liaising with members and DADC/PIAS to offer help and information where we can to help them to react as quickly and effectively as possible to these very regrettable events," said Geoff Taylor, chief executive at U.K. labels trade body BPI, in a statement.