Amato, the highly respected distribution company responsible for distributing the music of labels like Kompakt, 2020 Vision, Anjunabeats, Distinctive, Cr2, Buzzin' Fly and many more of the biggest labels in dance has filed for liquidation.
Having handled both physical and digital distribution for many of the most important players in electronic music, covering all formats (including CDs, vinyl and MP3 downloads); Amato's demise has raised fears within the music industry of knock-on effects. Many believe that it could have a disastrous effect on vinyl, in particular, as several of Amato's labels, such as Rekids and Dubsided, only produce records.
The reasons for Amato shutting down are so far unclear, but some have speculated that it signifies that dance music record sales have become unprofitable, in both vinyl and digital formats, with file sharing software and illegal downloading allowing punters to access any music they want for free, devaluing legitimate sales.
2020 Vision head Ralph Lawson commented: "The ramifications are fairly serious. What you're dealing with is small independent labels, a large feeding bed for dance music, getting seriously hit. Personally, I think it could have been worse, we're able to survive, but the fall-out will be very significant."
Lawson also reckoned that the shock of Amato's liquidation should galvanise the independent music business and force labels and music heads to find new ways of working.
"It's breaking point," said Ralph. "If people want independent labels to go on then people need to come to the table. It's time for everyone to really realise what they can do as a DJ, as an artist, as a record label for the scene. Unless we do something, we're gonna be in a world where you don't have these superb independents giving you alternatives."