A fire which brought down the Sony/PIAS distribution centre in London during the recent spate of riots, which destroyed an estimated 3 million CDs and tens of thousands of DVDs, may have been a carefully planned attack rather than a random firebombing as previously presumed.
150 independent record companies lost stock in the fire. Drowned In Sound have compiled a list of labels and artists affected by the fire, and it's worth looking to give some context of how many artists and labels we all know and love have been directly affected.
As outlined by CMU, while many labels will have been insured, some won't have and could lose their business. Even those who are insured could face difficulty without a cash flow to support them until new stock comes in - though, thankfully, BPI and AIM are offering free loans to affected labels to help them survive.
The question over whether the fire was intentional began after journalists considered the expansive security operation at the warehouse, with its own fence and security guards.
The Telegraph allege that the attach was conducted by a "professional gang", using specialist cutters to get through the fence and encouraging rioters to the site to distract guards in order to steal the more valuable electronic goods at the centre. Whether the alleged professional gang or rioters started the fire is another question, but it could be that it was started to cover the tracks of those who stole goods.
Sony have set up a new distribution centre in Hertfordshire, England, to resume operations for the foreseeable future.