Universal Music Group and INXS struck a new, long-term agreement that will see the famed Australian rock group's catalog revamped and re-released, with the first titles to drop next month.
The new arrangement covers the world outside North and South America and was reached by longtime INXS manager Chris Murphy and Andrew Daw, VP, strategic marketing at Universal Music Group International.
Newly remastered, the INXS catalog will be re-issued by Universal Music companies beginning this northern summer. For the first time in several years, the catalog will be available in both digital and physical formats. Additional releases, including a 2011 hits collection, will be supported by significant marketing and promotional activity, according to the music major.
Originally formed in 1977 in Western Australia, INXS' body of work has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, scored six U.K. Top 10 albums and five U.S. Top 20 albums.
None of their albums came any bigger than the 1987 smash "Kick," which sold more than 10 million copies and yielded the hits "Need You Tonight," "Devil Inside," "New Sensation," "Never Tear Us Apart" and "Mystify."
Murphy managed the band during its heyday. But after 15 years together, he and the band parted ways in the mid-'90s. In recent times, Murphy returned to the fold and together with the band members mapped out a long-term vision which he is confident will return the group to their former glories.
"I'm confident within the next three-to-five years, INXS will be back in stadiums. And I have no doubt," Murphy told Billboard.biz ahead of the latest deal. "Are they going to be big in every country in the world? I don't know. But the way I work is a lot different to most people in the music business. I work every country individually."
Those plans started Down Under. Earlier this year, INXS hit the road for an eight-date tour of Australian wineries, their first trek in these parts for four years. The band performed at last year's ARIA Awards, and Murphy's Petrol Electric label last November released "Original Sin," an album of re-imagined INXS classics with the likes of Ben Harper, Pat Monahan and Nikka Costa taking guest-vocalists duties. "Original Sin," as previously reported, has its physical U.S. release on April 5, and digitally a week earlier..
The European strategy will unfold in the coming months. Those plans will include a headline slot at the inaugural "Southern Sounds" festival, which takes place June 11 in London.
"People forget how significant an act they have been," comments Universal's Daw in a statement announcing the latest deal. "During the 1990s, along with U2 and Guns 'N Roses, they were THE stadium band. We're looking forward to giving this catalog the respect it so richly deserves."
Nick Stewart, CEO of London-based Nick Stewart & Associates, is the marketing and management consultancy working with Murphy and Universal Music on the INXS catalogue.
INXS is working on an album of new material, and one-time frontman Fortune, who joined the band following a reality show based on the band's search for a singer in 2005 (original frontman Michael Hutchence died in 1997), is now writing with the band. "You need to figure out where can INXS really stretch themselves?" explains Murphy. "I want to see the next INXS studio album really stretch. And I think we'll see it."