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Distributor STHoldings to close

By | Published on Friday 18 July 2014


Electronic music distribution company STHoldings will cease trading at the end of this month, according to FACT. Launched in 1998, the company initially set itself up as a drum n bass distributor, and subsequently grew to work with labels releasing a variety of underground electronic genres in the UK.

In May, reports Clash, the company pared back its operations, reducing its client base from almost 200 to around 30 labels, owner Andrew Parkinson saying at the time: “We set out to build something that empowered the underground independent artist and gave them freedom to focus on their art. Things have changed… the ethos is getting lost and STH and its labels are dissatisfied”.

He went on: “Personally I do not feel that STHoldings can and should continue on its current path. I have decided to hit the reset button and for STH to return to its roots … Starting today, we are only going to work with a small number of approximately 30 record labels that reflect this ethos”.

However, just two months later the company is now seemingly shutting up shop completely, with payments to labels due to be brought up to date by September. Meanwhile former Sales Manager Mat Harwood has already launched a new vinyl distribution service, as part of Bournemouth record shop Unearthed Sounds, which also opened this month.

Since news of the closure broke, there has apparently been some confusion amongst labels still signed to the company over the ownership of metalwork from which their vinyl is pressed. According to a post on the blog of vinyl broker Well Tempered, an email from STHoldings told labels that they own the metalwork and should contact pressing plants direct to claim it.

However, writes Well Tempered: “This is not entirely accurate. The metalwork is not owned by the label. The rights to the metalwork is owned by the pressing plant that manufactured them. The rights to the masters embedded into the metalwork is owned by the record label”.

The post continues: “Please don’t panic and feel the need to have to ‘claim’ ownership of the metalwork – it will not be going anywhere. The pressing plant will not destroy it. I have agreements in place whereby I can take control of STHoldings-related metalwork when needed. This is by no means a complicated procedure”.

STHoldings, you may remember, made headlines back in 2011 when the digital distribution side of the company pulled its entire catalogue off Spotify, saying at the time: “As a distributor we have to do what is best for our labels. The majority of which do not want their music on such services because of the poor revenues and the detrimental affect on sales. Add to that, the feeling that their music loses its specialness by its exploitation as a low value/free commodity. Quoting one of our labels: ‘Let’s keep the music special, fuck Spotify'”.

No official statement on the closure has yet been made publicly by the distribution firm.