Australian music industry veteran Michael Parisi, one of the most accomplished A&Rs of his generation, has left Warner Music to set up his own business.
Parisi, who has served for three years in the dual role as Warner Music Australia president of A&R and as managing director of its Mushroom Records imprint, is now head of Michael Parisi Management (MPM).
Speculation on Parisi’s new venture had circulated within the Aussie industry in recent months. The news, however, crystallized in the form of an official statement, issued today in tandem with confirmation on Warner Australia’s new deal with Peppermintblue Entertainment.
“It’s a good time for me to use the 20 years experience I’ve had and do my own thing,” Parisi tells Billboard.biz. “It’s not about indie vs. major, it’s more about trying something new and take something to a new level. If I’m going to do something substantial on my own, the time is now.”
Based in Melbourne, MPM will have three main strands – A&R consultancy, event creation and management, and artist management. Through its A&R consultancy division, MPM will continue to work with Warner Music Australia in developing the recording careers of new artists and existing acts on the roster, such as Parisi’s signings Gabriella Cilmi, the Galvatrons and Eskimo Joe.
The consultancy arm will team with Warner Australia for a one-year deal, with an option for a two-year extension. If Warner chooses to pass on an MPM-discovered act, Parisi can take the company’s discovery elsewhere.
Separately, Parisi will consult to Mushroom Music Publishing on its domestic roster, working alongside Mushroom Group chairman Michael Gudinski and Mushroom Publishing managing director Ian James and their team.
MPM’s event creation and management arm will oversee two major, music-based projects in 2009. Parisi will consult to Westpac Bank and the Belong Advertising Group in helping the organizations launch a joint venture live show, Lectern Rock, this April in Sydney.
Parisi is also behind Dream Inc. Music Workshops, a three-day music and life education course beginning Sept. 18 at the Melbourne Town Hall. The program is spearheaded by local singing teacher and life coach David Jaanz, and former Sony Australia director of promotions Frank Varrasso.
The MPM artist management arm currently has two acts on its books, the teenage edgy-pop artist Caterina Torres and 20-year old producer Noam Dishon.
In a statement issued today, Warner Music Australia president and CEO Ed St. John paid homage to Parisi’s “invaluable contribution” to the music major. “He’s one of the best A&R guys in the Australian music industry and I’m thrilled that we’ll be able to keep working together in the future. We look forward to developing many wonderful new artists with him in 2009 and beyond, and wish him the very best of luck with the launch of his new company.”
Parisi returned to the Warner Music Australia fold on Jan. 1, 2006, following a stint as managing director of Festival Mushroom Records.
He served as A&R manager at WMA from 1993-1999, where his hitlist of multi-platinum signings included Regurgitator, the Superjesus and the Whitlams. He later headed the A&R department at Mushroom Records. In 1999, media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. bought out Mushroom from co-owner Michael Gudinski and merged it with his other label Festival Records. In 2002, Parisi became managing director at the amalgamated company Festival Mushroom Records.