PIAS Group

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Company typePrivate
Founded1983; 41 years ago (1983) in Brussels, Belgium
FoundersKenny Gates
Michel Lambot
Number of locations
Area served
Number of employees
Divisions[PIAS] Recordings
[PIAS] Artist & Label Services

PIAS is a Belgian corporation that specialises in independent music recording, licensing, distribution, sales, and marketing. The company was founded in 1983 by Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot in Brussels, Belgium,[1]. It has over 250 employees, with 19 offices around the world. The group funds and partners with independent labels and artists.

In 2022, Universal Music Group acquired 49% of the PIAS Group.[2]


  • [PIAS] Recordings, which launched in 1999, is the group's in-house recorded music division, comprising eight labels, headquartered in [PIAS]'s UK office in Bermondsey, London.
  • [PIAS] Artist & Label Services, the sales & distribution division providing custom marketing, sales, and distribution services to labels and artists on a national and international level. [PIAS] rebranded its distribution service to [Integral] in 2021.


Within [PIAS] Recordings[3]


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 a "distributor" rather than an importer / wholesaler; that meant offering a full range of services to labels, such as promotion and marketing. The activities were then extended to production through the creation of their 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.[6] The same year, [PIAS] acquired Rough Trade Distribution in the Benelux.[7]

[PIAS] and Universal Music entered into a strategic global alliance on 9 June 2021. The agreement will see UMG finance [PIAS] in addition to accessing the company's international distribution network.[8]

In November 2022, Universal Music Group purchased a 49 percent stake in PIAS. As part of the deal, the catalogues of several Universal artists were transferred to PIAS, including Jurassic 5, DJ Shadow, The Dandy Warhols, Texas, and Eels.

2011 warehouse fire[edit]

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.[9][10] Several album and single releases were affected by the fire,[11] including the Arctic Monkeys single "The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala", the Battles single "My Machines" and the Charlie Simpson album Young Pilgrim.[12][13] The total stock loss was reported to be between 3.5 million[14] and 25 million[15] units.

Distributed labels[edit]

PIAS distributes and services over 100 independent labels including the following:

Artist & Label Services[edit]





  1. ^ a b c "Michel Lambot's Biography" Archived 2018-10-07 at the Wayback Machine, Impala. Retrieved 7-10-2018.
  2. ^ "Universal acquires 49% stake in independent music powerhouse [PIAS]". 30 November 2022.
  3. ^ ""Our Labels"". Archived from the original on 2018-10-07. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  4. ^ Tim Ingham, "PIAS officially acquires classical and jazz house harmonia mundi", Music Business Worldwide (September 28, 2015). Retrieved 7-10-2018.
  5. ^ "PIAS Acquires Australia's Inertia Music", Billboard (January 23, 2017). Retrieved 7-10-2018.
  6. ^ "PIAS buyout of Co-Op cleared by EC regulators", Music Week (Monday, Mar 25th 2013). Retrieved 7-10-2018.
  7. ^ "PIAS acquires Rough Trade Distribution in Benelux", Music Business Worldwide (December 2, 2013). Retrieved 7-10-2018.
  8. ^ Murray Stassen (9 June 2021). "Universal Music Group and [PIAS] Strike Strategic Global Alliance". Music Business Worldwide. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  9. ^ "Pitchfork: Sony/PIAS Warehouse Burnt Down in UK Riots". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 2011-08-17.
  10. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (9 August 2011). "Labels react to Sony/PIAS warehouse fire". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  11. ^ "London riots - Domino Records respond to Sony DADC warehouse fire | News | NME.COM". NME. Archived from the original on 2011-10-16.
  12. ^ "Independent record labels fear ruinous stock loss in London riots fire". The Guardian. London. 9 August 2011.
  13. ^ "Arrests Made in Sony/PIAS Warehouse Fire". Pitchfork. 11 August 2011.
  14. ^ "Independent record labels detail fire recovery plans". BBC News. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  15. ^ Smirke, Richard (15 August 2011). "BPI establishes fund for indie labels impacted by London riots". Billboard. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  16. ^ "Artist & Label Services".
  17. ^ "Cooperative Labels".

External links[edit]