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Indie trade association AIM and distributor PIAS have created an emergency fund to help small record labels devastated by the loss of stock. An act of arson during the London riots on Sunday night destroyed the stock of over 150 small labels.

It is much-needed. Most of the businesses affected are tiny and face three problems: a lack of continuity insurance, the reluctance of insurers to pay out for stock lost to riot damage, and the ongoing reluctance of banks to extend credit.

In a joint statement today, PIAS and AIM said:

"Labels and artists affected by the destruction of the Sony DADC warehouse are faced with incredible pressures on their businesses in respect to the re-manufacture, re-supply and marketing required as a result of the fire. Whilst it is expected that insurance will cover the lost stock, the reality for many labels is that they will not be compensated or insured for an interruption of trade or the additional capital to reproduce the stock that they have lost and the promotion in which they have invested."

PIAS also says it is attempting to secure preferential rates with suppliers, negotiating for a temporary fees, and promoting digital offerings. Punters are urged to shop to support the labels.

Apple has already launched an indie section to help the affected labels. You can find it by clicking here.

The distributor's CEO and co-founder Kenny Gates said, "The compassion of our recording artists, our labels and the industry-wide support is amazing."

It remains to be seen if freetards who rail against "big music" will come to the aid of small, independent music companies when they most need help. Doing so might risk acknowledging that digital pillaging has real world consequences, just as physical plundering has adversely affected many small businesses in English cities this week. There's no shortage of academics and activists who insist online looting is consequence-free, shouldn't be policed or punished, and in any case, the music business has had it coming. Sound familiar?

Well, it would be nice if your reporter was proved wrong, and music fans came to the labels aid.

Anyone wishing to contribute should email labelsupportfund@musicindie.com. You can find AIM here and PIAS here. ®

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