Four-year-old independent label Social Family Records has been acquired by Golden Robot Entertainment, TMN can exclusively reveal.

Having launched in mid-2015, the Sydney-based Golden Robot Records (GRR) was founded by local music icon Steve Balbi (Noiseworks) and Mark Alexander-Erber. It boasts a celebrated roster of local artists including Mi-Sex, Rose Tattoo, Toe to Toe and The Choirboys.

The company’s majority shareholder Alexander-Erber said it was Social Family’s structure and team that attracted him to initiate discussions with its CEO and Co-Founder Jake Challenor.

“They had done the hard yards for four years, and had the formula and the hits on the charts – literally,” he told TMN. “I appreciated Jake’s vision and, that coupled with my entrepreneurial outlook, I felt we could take it to another level again. And when the opportunity came up it took me about three seconds to decide to do it, and in retrospect it was a great decision and it has helped GRR more than I realised from the inside out.”

Social Family Records, the love child of management and digital company Social Family Group, has had 10 Top 40 albums since its launch in 2013. They include: Reece Mastin’s Change Colours, Baby Animals’ This Is Not The End and Amber Lawrence’s Superheroes.

Golden Robot’s acquisition of Social Family Records wrapped up in April following initial discussions in November last year.

Under the new structure, Social Family Records’ roster will remain largely unchanged hosting and signing country and adult contemporary artists, while GRR will predominantly be a home for more rock acts, including both emerging and classic.

Golden Robot recently added four artists to its stable, including Social Family Records signings The Superjesus and Steve Kilbey (The Church).  

“That makes a lot of sense for those artists,” said Challenor. “In addition to that there are some artists that Golden Robot has signed which haven’t been announced yet but will be more suitable under Social Family Records – artists will have the option.”

GRR will adopt Social Family’s distribution deals, locally releasing digital offerings through The Orchard and releasing physical through Universal Music Australia (via Ambition). However in the USA and Europe both labels may use different distribution companies, depending on what each are trying to achieve. 

GRR has kept on key staff from Social Family Records including National PR & Label Manager Nardia Drayton. Golden Robot’s own Label Coordinator Lola Major will work across both labels and its co-founder Steve Balbi is Head of A&R.

The umbrella company Golden Robot Entertainment is looking to recruit a new marketing manager while Challenor himself will stay on indefinitely as a consultant.

Challenor told TMN the labels have been transparent with their rosters about the acquisitions from “day dot.” 

“Personally as a manager myself, I think it’s really important that the transparency is there,” he said. “A contract is only as good as the relationship that goes with it as far as I’m concerned.

“What matters most to the artist is knowing that that infrastructure that they bought into initially is still there,” he added. “And the team still feels the same sort of love, passion and dedication to their project, and that the funds are there to promote it and get it out there – it’s all about relationships.”

Golden Robot Entertainment will also boast a touring arm called Golden Robot Touring (GRT), a publishing arm and a merchandise arm. 

“This is very exciting,” Alexander-Erber said of GRT. “We are working with many promoters and agents and will be supporting our label acts to go on the road and promote, and we will also be doing our own festivals and showcases.”

Golden Robot Entertainment has combined forces with Tim Bradshaw of Centrifuge Music Publishing for its publishing arm.

“We will acquire all his publishing rights to all his artists and then create Golden Robot Publishing,” Alexander-Erber revealed. “We can then offer our bands and others not on the label a full service for all their licensing and publishing.

“We also have done a deal with the amazing Denise Sharp of Dsharp who will handle the labels’ licensing which is a huge potential business and will benefit all our artists on SFR and GRR,” he added.

Alexander-Erber told TMN he has approached another independent label from Queensland about a possible acquisition and has been in discussions with a local record label icon “who was behind many great labels of the ‘70s and ‘80s”, to start up a sub label.

“The basic idea behind GRE is a family company and family ideology,” said Alexander-Erber. “Very much like Alberts did in the ‘70s and ‘80s and Motown did as well. We have our own studio, labels, distro, brand, merch… Everything is to benefit the artists and take them to (or back to) the world stage.” 

Social Family Records was born when Social Family Group’s management arm was re-launching the Baby Animals after the band’s 20-year recording hiatus. After releasing the band’s comeback LP This Is Not The End in 2013, the record peaked at #19 on the ARIA chart and remained in the Top 50 for over a year. Since then it’s had 10 Top 40 albums, six Top 10 country albums, two Top 10 compilations and two Top 5 jazz albums from 18 artists. They are: 

10 Top 40 albums

- David Campbell – David Campbell Sings John Bucchino

- Baby Animals – This Is Not The End 

- Effie’s Classic 90’s Hits

- She Who Rocks

- Reece Mastin – Change Colours

- Dallas Frasca – Love Army

- Amber Lawrence – Superheroes 

- Jason Owen – Friday Night

- Suze DeMarchi – Home 

- Damien Leith – Chapter Seven

 

2 Top 10 compilations

- Effie’s Classic 90’s Hits

- She Who Rocks

 

6 Top 10 country albums

- Amber Lawrence (Superheroes & Hometown Girl & The Kid’s Gone Country)

- Troy Kemp (Against the Grain)

- Jason Owen (Friday Night)

- Fanny Lumsden (Small Town Big Shot)

 

2 Top 5 jazz albums

- Christine Anu (Island Christmas)

- David Campbell (David Campbell Sings John Bucchino)