Melbourne-based indie Rubber Records has inked a new strategic alliance with EMI Music Australia.

Melbourne-based indie Rubber Records has inked a new strategic alliance with EMI Music Australia.

The deal, retroactive to February 1, includes distribution in Australia and New Zealand and marketing for some releases, says Rubber director and head of A&R, entertainment lawyer David Vodicka.

He tells Billboard.biz, "We were looking for upstream distribution for some of our acts."

The first release under the EMI deal is the March 18 re-release of the self titled debut album by the Exploders, one of four new signings alongside the Silents, the Sneaker Trio, and dance-inspired solo artist T-ReK. Vodicka expects to sign four more acts by the end of 2006.

The label has had Top 10 success with soul-pop band Cordrazine and hip hop act 1200 Techniques. Its acts the Casanovas and Offcuts have aroused interest from local major labels.

"Rubber Records has signed and developed some of the best independent music to emerge from Australia over the last 15 years," comments John O'Donnell, manager director of EMI Music Australia, in a statement. "But what really appealed to me about working with Rubber was their vision for the next 15 years."

Set-up in a suburban bedroom in 1991, Rubber last week opened a cafe and record store called Rubber City near to its offices. The label plans to showcase its acts on weekends at the venue.

Rubber's past distribution partners included BMG Australia, Sony Music Australia and, most recently, leading independent Shock Records.

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