The indie labels depression deepens as landlords aim to bag their stock while head honchos tell em to repress CDs. Happy New Year indeed!
With numerous indie labels increasingly frustrated that they have CDs they could and should be selling locked in the warehouses of defunct distributor Pinnacle, there is anger at the news the landlords of one of those warehouses are trying to claim ownership of some of their stock in lieu of fifty grand of rent they are owed by the collapsed firm.
Many labels (Among the hundreds of influential record labels that were distributed by Pinnacle are Rough Trade, One Little Indian, Drag City and Fierce Panda) are still having to wait to get CDs back, even though they technically own the stock. There are both legal and logistical reasons for the delays – one big problem is that staff who knew their way around the warehouses are long gone so even when labels have permission to get their CDs it’s hard for the skeleton staff who remain at Pinnacle bases to find them.
According to Music Week, the landlords of Pinnacle’s facility in Swanley are trying to put a ‘lien’ on the stock held there – which basically means they’re trying to claim ownership of it – in a bid to recoup some of the money they’re owed. Such a lien would not, actually, be legal, because the stock is owned by the labels not the defunct distributor.
Both the Association Of Independent Music and MCPS-PRS have stressed that is the case, and the good news is that Pinnacle’s administrator, BDO Stoy Hayward, seem to agree.
Which means the landlords are unlikely to get their hands on the CDs, but there is a concern that the new legal action could further delay the return of the stock to affected labels – which, if you’re a label who’s run out of stock but who has 2000 units at Pinnacle and who has record shops on the phone trying to buy some off you, has gotta be very depressing.
Even more depressing is this. Also according to Music Week, the boss of AIM, Alison Wenham – her organisation having investigated the situation in some detail – is recommending that labels seriously consider cutting their losses and re-pressing CDs rather than wasting time negotiating with the administrators to get the return of old stock.
Oh very dear.