It’s hard to tell if the financial collapse of Pinnacle, the UK’s largest online indie music player and distributor, is caused by the global economy changing and evolving during this downturn or the ongoing issues with the music industry in general. The news is surprising in light of the success of the music player.
Pinnacle already had bands and labels signed up on their service and an active user base. Similar to both Routenote and Grooveshark – other music players that also offer a way to buy music and support artists and labels – Pinnacle’s financial troubles could be a financial boon to other online music players focusing on the indie market.
If you wonder whether the bankruptcy of the distributorship side of Pinnacle will affect you, the music listener, the answer is yes. Their distributorship handled more than 400 labels, including the labels behind artists like Bjork, Sigur Ros, The Hives, Belle & Sebastian, The Strokes, Arcade fire and hundreds more. The label side of Pinnacle also had a staff of 90.
The combined loss of the online player and the distributorship will have a global effect, however; the artists can use this as a chance to become more self promoting and self distributing using online channels, web sites and social media tools. That is, if the suits and lawyers will loosen their contracts enough to let them – even indie artists become mired in the red tape of the sic.
AIM, the trade body associated with indie labels, is planning to try and assist the labels so that they and their artists don’t go down with the sinking ship that is Pinnacle. Unlike United States bankruptcies that are a ploy to restructure a poorly managed company, UK bankruptcy signals an end. The company will be completely shuttered. I’ll be tracking the artists and labels to see where they end up, and tracking other distributors like RouteNote and Grooveshark so see if any flow to other services here or abroad.