HOOF & MOUTH OUTBREAK IMPACTS E.U. MUSIC INDUSTRY
-Entire spring/summer release schedule in jeopardy March. 16, 2001 (DATELINE: BRUSSELS)
The outbreak of hoof and mouth disease in the UK, and the subsequent ban on the importation of British animal products into Continental Europe has had wide-ranging consequences here-from the humblest French cafe that can no longer serve a simple plate of steak frites to Germany's mega music and print conglomerates that can't get the industrial materials needed to manufacture new entertainment products.
Hardest hit has been their record divisions, which use UK-produced organic inks in the manufacture of CD's. The music industry had switched to organic inks (which use a substantial amount of animal byproduct as a mordant) in the early '90's, when it was discovered that standard, petroleum-based ink slowly ate into a CD's polycarbonate material and eventually rendered the disc unplayable. The ink shortage has jeopardized the industry's entire spring and summer release schedules, and much-anticipated new releases from Radiohead, Bob Dylan, Kilopop! and a reformed Doors are now on hold.
Speaking for the European record manufactures, Assistant Minister of Popular Culture Henri Pinard said "There is about a 15-day supply of ink left at current production levels. After this is gone, we're not sure what we'll do." London's Financial Times has reported that the scramble for alternative sources has nearly doubled the wholesale price of organic inks produced in China and The Philippines (where the disease has not been reported), but the music industry is balking at paying these inflated prices. "Entertainment executives are very good at accommodating negative production contingencies," Pinard added. "Films run behind schedule and bands take longer to record their albums-but this is something no one could have foreseen."