Saturday, December 13

Indie Shock as Pinnacle Collapses

The UK's largest Independent Music distribution company
Pinnacle Entertainments last week filed for bankruptcy.
Coming during the Christmas shopping period the timing could not be worse, for small independent music stores who are now finding it difficult to obtain the specialist independent releases. Since BPI figures show that there was a 27% quaterly decline in CD sales and 1/5 of 2007 sales were made in the December period, it may be the death knell for many hard-pushed retailers and small specialist labels.

A.I.M. the UK Association of Independent Music, have quickly responded and made legal presentation to limit the damage to the Labels. But Pinnacle represented a large long-term and important player in the UK Supply Chain. So there will undoubtedly be other casualties in the near future.

The major labels have managed over the years to eat into the Independent market by use of re-branding bands under the 'INDIE' genre. I raised this whole issue on the website article 'Independent v Indie'. The Internet has itself changed the nature of the music availability, through piracy and the 'myspace' and 'mp3 download' cultures. The Music Industry like many others was slow to realize and respond to the full impact that on-line music would have on CD and vinyl sales. It has yet to fully engage with it's potential audience. It may be that the industry must look to re-access and re-model and it's whole approach to how music is made and distributed.

So although this news might present a bleak short-term picture,
maybe it will be
the marching call
to re-invigorate and re-invent
To strongly denote what is independent and to delineate it from what is mass-produced in it's wake. Although the Independent market share is small in comparison to the Larger Multi-National Corporate 'lions-share', it is the life-blood of choice and an important part of our cultural output.

Link to Newspaper Articles:

Independent.Co.UK Music Feature A rough trade gets rougher

IrishTimes article



  1. I still have conflicting thoughts on the music industry being in 'charge' of the music rights and what-not.
    My model form has been a group with which I have had minor connection with (I played golf with Buddy Cage, once) and have even less knowledge of their music.
    Grateful Dead.
    These boys invited the crowds to record their music at concerts and to distribute them anyway they wanted to. (and to this day, you can buy concert recordings from all over the world, many many dates, though none are what you would call clean studio prints)

    Jerry died with enough money in his pockets to warrant a lawyer handling his estate.
    (me? HA! A dog with a note in its mout could handle MY estate!)

    It seems that the industry itself wants to reap the greater wealth, and call it 'on account of the great recording studio' situation. But, is this fair?
    and then there's the idea of copyright infringement.

    While I do believe artists have rights due them for their creativity, I feel there are some extremely delicate cracks in the system that aren't being addressed.
    From a visual artists point of view, a collage is an original work of art. Even though that artist may not have gathered each and every item used. That is to say, clippings from magazines, newspapers, even other books.
    Or, given music, an extremely limited scope of elasticity when one considers that there are only twelve notes for standard pieces.
    Is there anything 'new' under the Sun?
    Irving Berlin had no idea, I'm sure, of where we were going when he got the original idea of ascap started. He thought, as did most folks back then, and even some, now, that there was always a way to determine who owned what, who owed whom what, and exactly how much was an item worth?
    The very industry seems to be fueling itself from eating the very musicians it purposes to protect. This was more prominent in the late sixties and early seventies, but, now? HA! With a computer and a few thousand dollars, one could create copyrights for all musical pieces within a few days, and then live comfortably on suing the entire world everytime someone comes up with 'new music'
    (mathematically speaking, that is)

    Well, what a great way to visit a friend's blog, though, eh? Walk in like a bull in a china shop.
    No offence meant to China or thir shops.

    Or bulls, for that matter.

  2. Mr Boneman,
    well my respect to the Grateful Dead and to you for taking the time to comment.
    We can argue this point from now until eternity. I have great empathy for the comments, except would say that all of the things we take for granted like Radio, Television, Film, Computers have all come about through patents and copyrights. My article relates to the sudden demise and the consequential loss of employment 94 people directly affected at Pinnacle's main office. Also eUK a side shoot of Woolworths also hit the rails as well as others. But it is small labels who often help new bands actually have a career in music that may come off the hardest hit. Yes in theory we can all do it on-line the "Gerry Garcia" way but how many of us will make more than a few dollars? What was a small cottage industry, which blossomed to become "Independent Music" and which could actually compete with the "Big-Corporate" Music Industry has been hit rapidly from all sides. But like I said "it may actually lead to something new and exciting". My thoughts go out to the people affected by this particularly those who have lost employment or who are facing bankruptcy at this time.

    Thanks for the comment, but I think the Grateful Dead were an anomally and yes it does mean there are thousands of recordings of them all over the place. But having listened I would say I'd stick to the records. All the best Happy Christmas.


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