UMG invests in Petrol Records, Chris Murphy details five INXS projects
Universal Music Group (UMG) and INXS’ label Petrol Records have entered an “expansive” joint venture.
As an investor in the15-year-old label – run by INXS manager Chris Murphy – UMG will continue to tell the enduring tale of INXS’ legacy through the collaborative roll-out of INXS-related projects, including new audio releases, films, theatrical productions, live events and fan conventions.
UMG and Murphy are already collaborating on a feature-length documentary about Michael Hutchence. They’re working with Passion Pictures (Searching for Sugar Man) and Hutchence’s director friend Richard Lowenstein (He Died with a Felafel in His Hand and the Hutchence-starring Dogs in Space).
Speaking to TMN this morning, Murphy said he’s aiming for a late 2017 release date for the film or early 2018, in time for the Sundance Film Festival.
Murphy said that before the projects had grown to become such a large undertaking, he had been particularly obsessed with rolling them out during the auspicious year of 2017. Next year marks the 40-year anniversary of INXS’ founding, it’s the 20th anniversary of Hutchence’s death and the 30th anniversary of sixth studio album KICK.
Meanwhile, Murphy has reformed his parents’ 55-year-old theatre company Mark Murphy & Associates for INXS – The Musical. Murphy has set to work on the production with INXS band member Tim Farriss and a renowned New York-based director. Murphy told TMN he recently wrapped up a five-day reading for the production and plans to premiere it in New York in either late 2017 or early 2018.
Both Tim Farriss and Murphy were Executive Producers on Network Seven’s top-rating TV mini-series, INXS: Never Tear Us Apart. In Australia, where it screened as a two-part series, the first part had a total audience of 2.243 million metro viewers and the second had 2.579 million, including regional viewers.
TMN can reveal Murphy hopes to tour the planned INXS fan convention across Australia as part of a tie-in with another project he’s working on, which he referred to as a “production”. Murphy said the idea was sparked after a clean-out of his archives at his Richmond-based property ‘Archerfield Farm’. Once news of the extent of the archives broke, Murphy said he was pressured for two years to show them to the public.
During one overnight Qantas flight, Murphy said four hostesses stopped him outside the bathroom.
“They said ‘Mr Murphy, we need to speak with you’,” he recalled over the phone this morning. “I thought I was in trouble and had brought something on the plane that I shouldn’t have,” he laughed. “They said ‘You have to release show those archives’ […] I was standing there rubbing my eyes in my Qantas pajamas.”
As for the “new audio” hinted at in the media press release, Murphy is working on multiple releases but revealed one of them would be the soundtrack to the musical, which will include cast recordings of INXS favourites.
Murphy also told TMN INXS member Kirk Pengilly has all the acoustic recordings from every US radio performance.
As Australia’s biggest selling artists for the past 30 years, INXS has broken another of their own sales records. Last night at a reception at QT Sydney, UMG announced the band’s The Very Best album has eclipsed their previous 5x Platinum sales record and is now 6x Platinum. The news came on the eve of the 39th anniversary of the group’s first-ever performance.
Last night INXS were also surprised with a 3x Platinum Award for the DVD of their LIVE BABY LIVE show at Wembley Stadium from July 1991.
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group said, “I’m thrilled to be building on our special and long term relationship with Chris Murphy and INXS. We look forward to developing exciting projects that will create new immersive experiences for fans around the globe to engage with the music from one of the world’s most enduring bands.”
Murphy signed INXS to Petrol Records in 2009 when he created his ‘Band to a Brand’ strategy, creating projects including film, television and live events.
Murphy said of the joint venture: “Once a upon time the music business was a very simple place (industry) to be involved in, find an artist, record and release, then do a tour.
“These days we operate within a very complex entertainment industry where many are at odds with this new paradigm. Sir Lucian and his team are on the money and focused for the future so it is my complete delight to be working with him and his vision. From Musicals to Movies we have the future of music covered together.”