LabelLove: Save the UK's riot-hit indie labels

200 labels were destroyed in the riots. Here's how you can help

LabelLove: Save the UK's riot-hit indie labels

The Sony Distribution Centre burnt to the ground in the London riots earlier this week held the physical stock of approximately 200 independent record labels – around 1.5 million discs that were handled by preeminent indie distributor PIAS. In a single act of mindless vandalism, the UK indie scene lost nearly everything.

Make no mistake, this is a serious blow. It's well known that the record industry is suffering, and in these times of economic crisis, this vile crime will see many of the labels go under.

On every level, this is heartbreaking news. These labels are often run by passionate music fans who give everything they have to keep the indie tradition alive. Whether you're a Smiths fan, an Oasis fan, a Primal Scream fan, an Arctic Monkeys fan, even a Bo Ningen fan, chances are that your life has been touched by the UK's independent music makers. As one fan tweeted, 'I'd sell a kidney for independent music.'

In the days that followed the fire, a group of passionate supporters set up LabelLove, a charity to help try and keep these labels alive. The group plans to hold a series of charity gigs – more info will be made available very soon – but in the meantime, you can donate money via their website using PayPal.

Dan Slater, one of the organisers, told Time Out Tokyo: '100 percent of money donated through PayPal will go to the labels affected. Money raised from the charity gigs, minus costs, will also be distributed to the labels.' He explained that he hopes to split the money amongst the labels based on the percentage of stock they lost. If that's not possible, however, LabelLove will split the donations evenly.

We asked him if Tokyo promoters would be allowed to use the LabelLove name to raise money here in Japan on his behalf. 'Absolutely!' he replied. 'That would be amazing. Tokyo is one of my favourite cities, and to think of the people over there wanting to do something for us is truly humbling.

'It is incredible to us in London to think people as far away as Japan have a passion for what is happening here,' he added. 'This incident really seems to have hit a nerve with music fans all around the world. Keep the faith and keep supporting Indie music!'

If music and freedom of artistic expression means something to you, and you want to help, you can start by spreading the word. For tweeters, the hash-tag is #LabelLove, or you can show your support directly to the charity by following @_Label_Love_. If Twitter's not your bag, here's the official LabelLove website. Alternatively, you can buy mp3s directly from the UK labels themselves; a full list of the troubled independents can be found here.

We'll keep you up to date with developments as they occur.

Update, Aug 12
The Metropolitan Police twitter feed says that 3 men have been arrested in connection with the Sony Distribution Centre attack. Other news sources are reporting that one has been released on bail, while two are still in custody. The three are aged between 17 and 18.

By Jon Wilks
Translated by Daisuke Nishimura
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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