THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC www.musicweek.com
Format shifting given go ahead
MEDIA 8 Bauer begins to bring home the local bacon
PIAS STOCK GOES UP IN SMOKE AFTER LONDON RIOTING
No friendly fire for indie labels
7 7 6 1 3 6
7 7 6 6 6 9
TALENT 16 Virgin kick-starts
The Kooks’ new campaign
THE INDIE COMMUNITY IS scrambling an emergency plan to get its stock into stores following the devastating fire that swept through the Sony DADC distribution centre early Tuesday morning.
The fire that accompanied riots in the area on Monday night has completely gutted the huge Enfield warehouse near the M25 and destroyed thousands of releases from more than a hundred PIAS-distributed labels such as XL, 4AD, Domino, Kitsume, Ninja Tune and Buzzin’ Fly Records.
With releases from artists such as Adele, Seasick Steve, The Horrors and Two Door Cinema Club gone up in smoke, the indie community has been reeling from the blow.
Beggars Group chairman Martin Mills described the fire and related problems as “horrible, horrible”.
NinjaTune MD Peter Quicke said it was “devastating”.
SRD managing director John Knight, who distributes many indie labels, said “There’s going to be gaps on shelves.”
And it is likely that smaller labels will be worst hit by the disaster because Mills said his and many of the larger indies had stock stashed elsewhere. The bigger labels are also more likely to have the funds available to repress releases and get stock levels up again. “Smaller labels are going to hurt,” he said.
Buzzin’ Fly’s label manager Marianne Frederick was struggling to come to terms with the setback. She had two new singles – from Vaughan and Dana Rouh – ready for release and said, “We’ll have to put a stop on that.”
Frederick added, “It’s pretty devastating. We’ve got to presume the whole operation has gone so how do they get up and running? Fulfilment is going to be the big issue.”
PIAS Group COO Nick Hartley said, “PIAS is liaising with both Sony DADC and all of our labels to put the necessary plans in place.” The company also promised to issue further information to its clients as the recovery plan is formulated.
Getting new stock into stores has been recognised as the key problem by AIM. But its chairman and CEO Alison Wenham said that the indie community had rallied around.
“We have already had offers of help coming in,” said Wenham, who was orchestrating a contingency plan for labels affected. “We’re just ascertaining how many labels are affected and what the insurance position is.”
Few expect there to be any insurance issues:
Knight suggested that most distributors carry riot, civil unrest and business interruption insurance as standard. However, he said the problem for small labels was waiting for the insurance to pay out, which means many might not be able to afford to repress for several months.
Sony DADC spokeswoman Christina Schobesberger said an emergency plan was in progress and there had been no injuries. However, she added that the extent of the damage to the complex – described as “the biggest in London on Monday night” and which needed 11 fire engines to bring it under control – or the cause would have to wait until a full investigation was carried out.
Two HMV stores in Wood Green and Enfield were also among the shops hit by the London riots over the weekend. firstname.lastname@example.org
RAGS TO RICHES TURNAROUND FOR UK CHART ACTS British talent is mounting a significant comeback on the airwaves and the UK singles chart after homegrown acts slumped to their worst OCC Top 10 showing of all time in Q2.
Buoyed by the first all-domestic top five on the weekly sales countdown for the first time in nearly four years, UK artists are behind seven of the 10 biggest-selling singles over the past month, while half of Nielsen Music’s Top 50 UK radio airplay chart last week was by British acts.
This marks a swift turnaround in fortunes given that in May Music Week revealed the Official Charts Company singles chart had its lowest Top 10 presence of domestic artists since the countdown launched in November 1952.
UK artists were also struggling in the second quarter to make a mark on a number of radio stations’ playlists with Music Week analysis revealing just 40 of the 100 tracks with the biggest audiences over the three months were by British acts. At Global’s Capital Network only 28 of its 100 top tunes in the quarter were by Brits with 52 of them coming from Americans (see pages 6-7).
However, UK artists appear to have rapidly played a game of catch-up in the first five weeks of the new quarter with Cher Lloyd’s debut single Swagger Jagger leading the first all
UK top five since fellow Syco signing Leona Lewis did the same with Bleeding Love in October 2007.
Her success along with those by acts such as Epic’s JLS and Global Talent/Island’s The Wanted has started to have an impact on the year-todate top sellers. Just three of the 10 biggest singles in the first half of 2011 were by UK acts, but in the first five weeks of this current quarter seven of the biggest singles are British, led by Ministry of Sound’s DJ Fresh with Louder.
This resurgence is also being reflected at radio where 25 of Nielsen’s Top 50 UK radio airplay chart last Sunday were by UK acts, while more than half of Capital’s playlist is by British artists. This includes MTA/Mercury’s UK dubstep act Nero whose newly-issued Promises is challenging JLS and Lloyd to top this
Sunday’s singles chart.
“Famine to feast would be a good description,” said Capital Network head of music Mark Findlay. “As a radio network we don’t make any decision about the nationality of the records we are playing. In our world it’s playing the best records for the audience. As a company we’d love to be able to play lots of British music. I know most of the labels were charged with signing and breaking new British acts and maybe we’re seeing the benefits of that now.”
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