STHoldings Ending Vinyl Distribution This Month, Continues With Smaller Roster [Updated]
UK-based STHoldings launched in 1998 and grew to be an important electronic and related music distributor, both physical and digital, though noted in particular for vinyl distribution. In May they announced the end of services for around 150 labels with the intent to continue working with a group of 30 labels. This is likely good news for those in the 30 but certainly not for those who are losing a unique specialty distribution service at the end of the month.
[Update: Supposedly they announced that they closed entirely. Coverage is ambiguous. I don't know where people are getting this information. Would it be too much to ask for STHoldings to post on their FB page or website? Or for someone to tell us where they got the information?]
"A name many of you might recognise from your vinyl collection, ST Holdings launched in 1998 and swiftly rose to become one of the premiere distributors in the bass arena. Working with hundreds of labels, ST Holdings virtually cornered the market in drum 'n' bass, grime, dubstep, UK garage and more."
According to Clash they cut ties with 150 labels but the statement from STHoldings posted in May is no longer available and the exact number seems unclear. That said, whether it's 140 or 150, that's a lot of labels losing vinyl distribution.
The missing statement is said to have included the following:
"Things have changed… the ethos is getting lost and STH and its labels are dissatisfied. 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."
I can understand why there's some dismay but it's a potentially really strong move for Andrew Parkinson and the rest of the folks at STHoldings as well as for the labels with whom they're working.
Of course it's also a reminder that the current vinyl infrastructure is having serious trouble keeping up with the needs of labels releasing vinyl.