Albert Music, the Aussie label home to AC/DC, has renewed its exclusive licensing deal with Sony Music Entertainment Australia. The new long-term arrangement covers all Albert Music catalog, digital content and future CD and DVD releases in Australia and New Zealand.

Alberts' existing partnership with Sony delivered one of the biggest hits of the year Down Under, AC/DC's "Black Ice", which topped the chart after its October release and has gone on to shift 350,000 units (seven-times platinum), according to Sony Music.

"We are happy to continue in this very successful relationship with Sony," Albert Music CEO Tim Prescott tells Billboard.biz. The deal is important for several key reasons, he adds. "It is a building block for growing the international profiles of our great new talent; from both our U.K., and Australian labels, and our publishing sources. We are also closely associated with Sony Music internationally through the AC/DC recording catalog."

While AC/DC has been the monster on its roster, Alberts has delivered an array of international hits over the past four decades, from the likes of Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, the Easybeats, Rose Tattoo and the Angels.

"Albert's contribution to Australian and international music cannot be overstated," comments Denis Handlin, chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand, in a statement. "(Albert Group of Companies CEO) David Albert and Tim Prescott have exciting plans for continuing local artist signings and the whole Sony Music team is looking forward to continuing working with David and Tim and all the Albert's team to achieve great success with their catalog and new releases."

Through the new arrangement, both music companies have high hopes for breaking a new wave of Alberts acts, including Irish rock band the Answer, (currently on the road with AC/DC), Melbourne garage-rockers Skybombers and Sydney vocalist Shelley Harland.

Alberts recently struck a deal to represent Jeff Castelaz' L.A.-based label Dangerbird Records for Australia and New Zealand, and from 2009 will be marketing through Sony Music Australia such Dangerbird acts as Sea Wolf, the Dears, and Darker My Love.

Rock-oriented Albert Music was established in 1964 as the label offshoot of J. Albert & Son, a music publisher which has roots dating back to 1885. The independent company has businesses ranging from music publishing, recordings, studios and artist management.

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