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For nearly two months this summer, I had been traveling around Europe.  I began with a week in London, followed by a week in Paris, than a month in Italy before returning to London.  I attended an independent music festival called TagoFest in Massa organized by Onga of Boring Machines, presented a paper at the 7th Critical Management Studies conference in Napoli, hung out with some musicians at Perditempo in Napoli (a unique venue serving as a hub for radical music, philosophy and politics, where I picked up some great local music and an Italian language book on Deleuze and Electronic music,) and relaxed around the south working on my MA thesis.

It seems I left London too early.

Though I was in Europe working and presenting and doing music related activities, I took full advantage of the opportunity of being back in the Old World to speak with as many local people as possible, follow the media, and try to gauge the effects of the austerity measures and the growing debt crisis.   (A bit of an aside:  this group, European Common Goods has an excellent take on the events and the best response I’ve seen, arguing that the debt crisis is being used as a pretense for greater privatization via the sale of public goods, largely to foreign corporations, a strategy that will be disastrous for Europe’s future, while serving the neo-liberal agenda as being carried out by our financial elite.)

Anyway, I’ve just published a short article over at SSG Music regarding the London riots and the burning down of the Sony/PIAS warehouse that held the stock of many independent labels in the UK.

The warehouse was owned by Sony, and served as the primary distribution center for PIAS, the largest distributor of  independent record labels in the UK and Ireland.   The record labels, and PIAS itself, were insured,  so some of the stock is likely to be quickly re-pressed.  About 150 labels have been affected by the blaze, and a full list distributed by PIAS can be viewed at the bottom of this article.  The Beggars Group, which includes labels such as 4ADMatador,Rough Trade, and XL, has stated that they expect it will take 10 days to repress the CDS and about 3 months for the vinyl.  Though many labels, particularly the smallest, have tragically lost their stock which will no doubt effect their cash flow in the coming months, the most immediate effect of the fire is the disruption of the distribution of physical music.  For instance, the Artic Monkey‘s new (physical) single will be delayed as a result of the fire.  The Association of Independent Music UK is encouraging fans to purchase digital copies from the label’s effected.  (Again, I’m all for helping the labels and supporting artists, but the cynic in me can’t help but see this as another instance of “disaster capitalism” at work; using the loss of physical items to hopefully spurn digital sales, which have a higher mark up, while being relieved of the economic burdon of housing physical copies that may not ever sell, all the while being reimbursed for the loss via insurance.)  The important British music magazine NME  is speculating that some of the labels simply won’t be able to rebound from this loss.

Read the entire piece here, or read below.

It seems I left London a week too early.  The city now enters into its fourth day of rioting (following the death of 29-year-old father of four, Mark Duggan, at the hands of the police on Saturday), which recent reports confirm  have spread to other cities in the UK.  The carnage has inadvertently affected the music industry, (as it has likely affected nearly every industry) after a fire early this morning burned a warehouse in Enfield, at the center of the protests, holding large stocks of CDs and LPs to the ground.

The warehouse was owned by Sony, and served as the primary distribution center for PIAS, the largest distributor of  independent record labels in the UK and Ireland.   The record labels, and PIAS itself, were insured,  so some of the stock is likely to be quickly re-pressed.  About 150 labels have been affected by the blaze, and a full list distributed by PIAS can be viewed at the bottom of this article.  The Beggars Group, which includes labels such as 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, and XL, has stated that they expect it will take 10 days to repress the CDS and about 3 months for the vinyl.  Though many labels, particularly the smallest, have tragically lost their stock which will no doubt affect their cash flow in the coming months, the most immediate effect of the fire is the disruption of the distribution of physical music.  For instance, Arctic Monkeys‘ new (physical) single will be delayed as a result of the fire.  The Association of Independent Music UK is encouraging fans to purchase digital copies from the label’s affected.  (Again, I’m all for helping the labels and supporting artists, but the cynic in me can’t help but see this as another instance of “disaster capitalism” at work; using the loss of physical items to hopefully spurn digital sales, which have a higher mark up, while being relieved of the economic burden of housing physical copies that may not ever sell, all the while being reimbursed for the loss via insurance.)  The important British music magazine NME  is speculating that some of the labels simply won’t be able to rebound from this loss.

This is a tragedy, and I hope that the labels and especially the artists are able to weather the storm. However we shouldn’t allow this to obscure the causes of the riots, police brutality and inequality, or stop us from asking the hard questions in the days ahead.

Many commenters on the internet have suggested that these riots are empty of political context (as if this could ever be the case) and are simply driven by the criminality of  greedy, lazy looters.  I’m not suggesting that the looting can be justified.  Certainly looting and burning are not effective strategies to counter police injustice. However, it must be asked: why do these young people feel that looting is more beneficial to their personal advancement than the other options afforded them?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biJgILxGK0o

Prime Minister David Cameron finally returned home, early, from a family vacation in Tuscany, Italy, and gave the following statement: “I am determined, the Government is determined that justice will be done and these people will see the consequences of their actions.”

Cameron’s government has decided that “austerity” means making university education more expensive, cutting spending on education and youth centers, and not addressing rising youth unemployment.  The government is certainly seeing the consequences of their actions.

The full list of labels distributed by PIAS is as follows:

1234, 2020 Vision, Accidental, Ad Altiora, Adventures Close to home, Alberts, All City, Alt Delete, Ambush Reality, Angular, Ark, ATC, Atic, Atlantic Jaxx, Azuli, B Unique, Backyard, Bad Sneakers, Bandstock, Banquet, Beggars, Big Chill, Big Dada, Big Life / Nul / Sindy Stroker, Boombox, Border Community, Boysnoize, Brille, Bronzerat, Brownswood, Buzzin Fly, Can You Feel It, Catskills, ChannelFly, Chemikal Underground, City Rockers, Counter, D Cypher, Dance To The Radio, Deceptive, Def Jux, Dirtee Stank, Divine Comedy, Domino, Drag City, Drive Thru, Drowned in Sound, Duophonic, Eat Sleep / Sorepoint, Electric Toaster, Emfire, F. Comm, Fabric, Faith And Hope, Fantastic Plastic, Fargo, FatCat, Feraltone, Finders Keepers / Twisted Nerve, Fingerlickin’, Flock, Free Range, From The Basement, Full Time Hobby, Goldsoul, Gronland, Groove Attack, Halftime, Hassle, Heron, Hum&Haw, Independiente, Info UK, Join Us, Kartel, Kensaltown, Kitsune, Kompakt, Laughing Stock, Leftroom, Lex, Lo Max, Loose, Love Box, Lowlife, Lucky Number, Marquis Cha Cha, Memphi, Industry, Merok, Metroline, Mute, Naïve, Nation, Navigator, New World, Ninja Tune, Nuclear Blast, One Little Indian, Output / People in the Sky / Process, Pale Blue, Palm, Peacefrog, PIAS Recordings, PIP 555 Productions, Play To Work, Powerhouse (T2), Propaganda / Ho Hum, Raw Canvas, Red Grape, Red Telephone Box, Rekids, Renaissance, Respect Productions (PES digital), Reveal Records, RMG, Rock Action, Roots, Rough Trade, Rough Trade Comps, Rubyworks, Ruffa Lane, Search And Destroy, Secret Sundaze, Secretly Canadian / Jagjaguwar / Dead Oceans, Sell Yourself, Setanta, Shatterproof, Sideone Dummy, Slam Dunk, Smalltown, Soma, Something In Construction, Sonar Kollectiv, Soul Jazz, Southern Fried, Stranded Soldier, Subliminal, Sunday Best, TARGO, Taste, Ten Worlds, Thrill Jockey, Total Fitness, Touch And Go, Track And Field, TriTone, Trouble, Try Harder, Turk, Turnstile, Twenty 20, Underworld, Union Square, Urban Torque, Vagrant, Vice, Victory, Wagram, Wall Of Sound, Warp, Wi45, Wonky Atlas, Word And Sound, Xtra Mile, You Are Here

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