Universal Inks Joint Venture Deal With INXS' Australian Label Petrol Records

Lucian Grainge and Chris Murphy
Courtesy of Universal Music Group

Lucian Grainge and Chris Murphy 

In a new deal described as "expansive" in scope, Universal Music Group today announced a joint venture with Petrol Electric, the record label founded by INXS manager Chris Murphy in 2001 that controls the Australian group's global recording rights outside of North America. Universal will invest in Murphy's label, while the venture will pave the way for INXS projects in the future, including a previously-announced documentary on the life of INXS' late lead singer Michael Hutchence.

New album releases, films, live productions and events and fan conventions centered on the band and its run as one of the most successful groups of its time are also in the pipeline. Two years ago, Murphy helmed the miniseries Never Tear Us Apart as executive producer, which focused on INXS and aired on Australian television.

“Once a upon time the music business was a very simple industry to be involved in: find an artist, record and release, then do a tour,” Murphy said in a statement. “These days we operate within a very complex entertainment industry where many are at odds with this new paradigm. Sir Lucian [Grainge] 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.”

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When the Hutchence film was announced in July, it was said to be part of Universal's continued push into films and live events following on the success of the Oscar-winning Amy Winehouse documentary Amy and the upcoming Ron Howard-led Beatles documentary Eight Days a Week. This joint venture follows in that pattern.

"I'm thrilled to be building on our special and long term relationship with Chris Murphy and INXS," UMG chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge said of the deal. "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."