Responding to the Riots

In one of the most surreal nights we’ve ever witnessed, Monday 8th August was also be one of the saddest. Looting in London and other parts of the UK escalated to uncontrollable levels as the trigger behind the riots (the death of Mark Duggan) became merely a footnote.

Worse than the act of looting though was the people and property that got injured/vandalised in the madness. For many people this may mean no longer having a place to work or having to rebuild their business from scratch. This is one of the reasons I am writing this post. One of the properties that was lost during the riots was Sony’s DADC distribution centre in Enfield. This 20,000 sq metre warehouse was completely burnt to the ground with all it’s contents lost.

Sadly, that warehouse was the home to PIAS UK, the distribution organisation for more than 150 independent music labels in the UK, meaning all of those labels have lost some, or in the worst cases, all of their stock. It was also the home to many of the UK’s smaller film distributors. While the stock is insured this is only for cost price which means that any cashflow from projected sales will now no longer be possible.

For record labels and film distribution companies that rely on steady sales of a wide and varied catalogue this could be fatal. For them it may not be cost-effective to reprint sections of their catalogue that only sell a small amount each year, but which collectively amount to a large part of their income.

The record labels affected by this include Soul Jazz, Kartel, Warp, Brownswood (Gilles Peterson’s label), Drag City, independiente, Domino, Ninja Tune, Fat Cat, Turnstile, Mute, Rough Trade and so many other quality labels (you can see the full list here.

Amongst the DVD labels who had their stock on the premises are Dogwoof Films, Pecadillo Pictures, BFI, Artificial Eye, Terracotta, and Guerilla.

Without these record labels and film distribution companies it is safe to say we wouldn’t have access to so many great Latin American movies and music releases. That is why we ask that if you were thinking about buying any music or films anytime soon then maybe now is the time to do it.

By buying music or films from these companies digitally you will help them get some money back in the bank so that they can continue bringing us so many amazing films and albums, the kinds of releases that major labels just wouldn’t be interested.

Below is a list of some of the releases that have come out recently on these labels and that we would recommend you buying if you wanted to help out, or if you wanted to buy some new music/films anyway but just needed a push!

by Russ Slater

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Music
Aqui Los Bravos! The Best of Michi Sarmiento
Brazil Bossa Beat!
Cartagena! Curro Fuentes & The Big Band Cumbia and Descarga Sound of Colombia 1962 – 72
Danay – The Havana Cultura Sessions
Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura
Gruff Rhys vs Tony Da Gatorra – The Terror of Cosmic Loneliness
Juana Molina – Un Dia
Nu Yorica Roots – The Rise of Latin Music in New York in the 1960s
Tinariwen – Aman Iman: Water Is Life

Films
Birdwatchers
Brasileirinho
La Niña Santa
Machuca
The Maid
The Milk of Sorrow
South of the Border
Whisky

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