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Albums deal to lead to explosion in INXS activity

Albums deal to lead to explosion in INXS activity

The major's Mercury label previously had the rights to three of the band's albums but this will be the first time in Europe that the rights to the 10 key catalogue albums - including the 6m-selling Kick - are held by one company.

The first fruits of the deal - which is for the world excluding the Americas - will be the re-release of the 10 studio albums physically and digitally on May 30.

Universal Strategic Marketing vice president Andrew Daw, who led Universal's highly successful campaign for the re-release of The Rolling Stones' Exile On Main Street, said the band's reputation as one of the key stadium rock acts of the Eighties had declined over the years, with little activity on their catalogue and many albums not even available.

"It is the first chance we have had to work the catalogue digitally and physically," said Daw. "We feel like their back catalogue has stalled for a long period of time. It is important to re-introduce people to them - they and U2 and Guns 'N Roses were the big stadium bands of the Eighties, they haven't gone on and held that position."

"It is quite a phenomenal catalogue - they have had 30m album sales, 23 UK hits, 17 hits in the US, with seven of them top 10, and 33 hits in Australia," he added.

Key to the campaign will be a live date the band are playing this summer at the Southern Sounds festival in London. The band, who decided to continue after the death of Hutchence in 1997, will headline the event, which concentrates on music from the Southern Hemisphere. Daw explained it is an opportunity for them to play before European promoters and journalists.

This, however, will just be the start of two years of INXS activity: Universal is currently working on a new best of for release for September/October, as well as a TV documentary of the band that will include previously unaired footage from a 1997 Brussels gig.

2012 will then see the re-release of Kick to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the album's original release, with Universal prepping multiple formats - from iTunes LP to super deluxe - complete with unreleased material. The year will end with the release of a "career boxed set". "They have never had a proper INXS boxed set before," said Daw. "We feel that is something missing in their catalogue."

Daw said the deal - which came about after Chris Murphy took over the band's management again - was a "really good deal financially" explaining that he believed the catalogue would sell consistently.

"I think the catalogue will prove to be rock solid, if you can remind people about the band and hit their nostalgic sweet spots. There are a lot of people who would put Kick as a guilty pleasure," he said.

The 10 albums covered by the deal start with the band's 1980 debut INXS, running through to 1997's Elegantly Wasted, their last album with Hutchence. The deal also includes "other bits and pieces", according to Daw, including live material.

*ben@musicweek.com

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