There's been lots in the news about the riots in the UK, but those riots have really messed with the indie music scene. A three-storey Sony music distribution warehouse that housed stock of nearly 200 independent labels was set on fire. Right now, it looks like something like 3.2 million pieces of stock were destroyed in that fire.
This is bad news for the indie music industry; since many indie labels operate on small budgets, this loss has devastated some of the labels - artists have had to postpone the release of their singles and albums...and dozens of labels could fold.
For example, the Chicago-based label Thrill Jockey estimated wholesale losses of more than 300-thousand dollars, but labels based in the UK, like Ninja Tune and Beggars Group, used the warehouse exclusively and lost 100% of their stock
Those labels I mentioned are home to Canadian artists. Backcatalogue recordings from New Pornographers, Basia Bulat, Rufus Wainwright were affected, as were copies of the new F'd Up album, David Comes to Life (F'd Up won the 2009 Polaris Music Prize). I called David Freeman with Beggars Group in Montreal, and he told me that none of their releases were delayed because of the fire; they were able to source product from other places around the world.
The complete list of all the labels that were affected in the fire is long and I get really miffed and upset everytime I look at or think about it. I buy lots of cds, and I own lots of albums on the labels from that list. You can see how major this loss has been, especially to the smaller indie labels. Look at it: it's full of labels you'll recognize. This is music that you listen to: XL, which is Adele's label, Ninja Tune, Rough Trade, whose early signings included The Smiths, and now The Strokes, Matador, 4AD, home of The Pixies, and so many others. One of the ones I noticed on the list is Young Turks, who just sent me the debut release of an artist named Aaron Jerome, who records and produces under the name SBTRKT.