Mushroom Group chairman Michael Gudinski has launched Liberator, a Melbourne-based imprint to sign and develop acts and labels from territories outside Australia.

Mushroom Group chairman Michael Gudinski has launched Liberator, a Melbourne-based imprint to sign and develop acts and labels from territories outside Australia.

He tells Billboard.biz that part of his strategy is to offer cash funding if some of its partner overseas labels require it.

"I'm so excited by the potential of indies today, they're creating many of today's hit acts," he says, citing Domino Records as one such example. Domino is the London-based indie which signed Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys, among others.

Melbourne-based Gudinski has hired two long time executives at rival Shock Records to helm the new project. They are A&R director Nick Dunshea and finance director Vince Donato.

Tapping into a global indie network is a strategy Gudinski used from 1973 when he set up Mushroom Records in Australia. Repertoire alliances with such overseas labels as Chrysalis Records and A&M Records helped Mushroom claim a 10% market share in 1987. He sold his 51% share of Mushroom to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp in September 1998, which merged it with Festival Records. The amalgamated company Festival Mushroom was bought by Warner Music Australia in October 2005.

Gudinski's other interests include the chart-aimed Liberation Records, whose artists include hip hop act TZU and his daughter singer songwriter Kate Alexa; reissues imprint Liberation Blue; urban Illusive Sounds; commercial pop label Luxor and a half share in Sydney alt-rock label Ivy League Records.