PIAS Group

PIAS is a London-headquartered international recording, licensing, distribution, sales and marketing company for independent music.

Founded1983 (1983) in Belgium
FoundersKenny Gates
Michel Lambot
Number of locations
Area served
Number of employees
Divisions[PIAS] Recordings
[PIAS] Cooperative
[PIAS] Artist & Label Services

The company was founded in 1983 by Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot in Brussels, Belgium[1] and has over 250 employees, with 19 offices around the world.

The group funds and partners with like-minded independent labels and artists to market and release their music around the world.



Within [PIAS] Recordings[2]


Michel Lambot and Kenny Gates met circa September 1981 at Michel’s record store then called "Casablanca Moon", exclusively selling records from independent labels and they quickly became friends.

In June 1982 the store "Casablanca Moon" was closed down and they made plans to start an import company named "Play It Again Sam". Play It Again Sam started importing from the UK in October 1982 and were based in the basement of Kenny's parents' house in Brussels, Belgium. Michel and Kenny were then respectively 21 and 19 years old.

The company was incorporated in March 1983 with a starting capital of €5000 and the strategy rapidly became to be a "distributor" rather than an importer / wholesaler; that meant offering a full range of services to labels, such as promotion and marketing. Then extended its activities to production through the creation of its own label in 1984.[1]

In 1990, [PIAS] set up offices in Hilversum, Holland, then followed the takeover of Vital in 1993 (which was renamed [PIAS] UK in 2008). [PIAS] offices were set up in Paris and London in 1994, in Hamburg in 1995, in Madrid in 2000 and in New York in 2013 as well as two joint ventures called [PIAS] Nordic in Scandinavia and [PIAS] Australia.[1]

In early 2013, [PIAS] acquired Cooperative Music (and the Coop-owned V2 Records label) from Universal Music Group, for a fee in the region of £500,000 forming the new business division [PIAS] Cooperative.[5]

In the same year [PIAS] acquired the Rough Trade Distribution in Benelux.[6]

2011 warehouse fire

On 8 August 2011, during the 2011 riots in England a Sony DADC warehouse in the London Borough of Enfield which also acted as PIAS' primary distribution centre was destroyed by fire. Most of PIAS' inventory was considered lost including records from the over 100 British independent labels which PIAS distributes.[7][8] Several album and single releases were affected by the fire,[9] including the Arctic Monkeys single "The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala", the Battles single "My Machines" and the Charlie Simpson album Young Pilgrim.[10][11] The total stock loss was reported to be between 3.5 million[12] and 25 million[13] units.

Distributed labels

PIAS distributes over 100 independent labels including the following:[8]


  1. "Michel Lambot's Biography", Impala. Retrieved 7-10-2018.
  2. "Our Labels"
  3. Tim Ingham, "PIAS officially acquires classical and jazz house harmonia mundi", Music Business Worldwide (September 28, 2015). Retrieved 7-10-2018.
  4. "PIAS Acquires Australia's Inertia Music", Billboard (January 23, 2017). Retrieved 7-10-2018.
  5. "PIAS buyout of Co-Op cleared by EC regulators", Music Week (Monday, Mar 25th 2013). Retrieved 7-10-2018.
  6. "PIAS acquires Rough Trade Distribution in Benelux", Music Business Worldwide (December 2, 2013). Retrieved 7-10-2018.
  7. http://pitchfork.com/news/43474-sonypias-warehouse-burns-in-uk-riots/
  8. Fitzmaurice, Larry (9 August 2011). "Labels react to Sony/PIAS warehouse fire". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  9. http://www.nme.com/news/various-artists/58540
  10. "Independent record labels fear ruinous stock loss in London riots fire". The Guardian. London. 9 August 2011.
  11. http://pitchfork.com/news/43500-arrests-made-in-sonypias-warehouse-fire/
  12. "Independent record labels detail fire recovery plans". BBC News. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  13. Smirke, Richard (15 August 2011). "BPI establishes fund for indie labels impacted by London riots". Billboard. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
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