Flying Nun, the record label credited with launching the
Dunedin Sound to the world, has been bought back by its
founder, Roger Shepherd.
The 49-year-old told the Otago Daily Times he had bought the
label from Warner Music New Zealand for an undisclosed sum on
Monday, and "it was more than what I sold it for".
The label, formed by Mr Shepherd in 1981, featured several
influential Dunedin groups on its roster including the Clean,
the Chills, the Verlaines, the 3Ds and Straitjacket Fits.
Mr Shepherd, of Wellington, said he planned to visit Dunedin
next month to catch up with artists who had released material
on the label, and also to look for new talent.
Flying Nun's ownership had changed several times since 1990,
and Mr Shepherd left the label in 1999 vowing never to work
in the music industry again.
As part of the new arrangement, Warner Music NZ "has come to
the party" and would remain a distribution partner of the
label's back catalogue and new releases, he said.
"They saw the value of me going back to the label. I was
always clear I wanted all or nothing."
The music industry was undergoing "massive change" but there
was a market for back catalogue reissues, both in CD and
vinyl form and also digital downloads.
However, the label was not going to be solely about
retrospective releases, and he would be actively signing "new
and interesting artists" who fitted the Flying Nun ethos.
"At the moment we have no-one under contract, we are starting
with a clean slate."
Dunedin-based artists welcomed the news saying it would
invigorate the label, which had stagnated since Mr Shepherd's
David Kilgour, of the Clean, said it was great to see Mr
Shepherd take ownership of the label and "it is back in New
The Chills frontman Martin Phillipps said fans "were
clamouring for some of our older albums" and reissues would
Phillipps said he was looking forward to catching up with Mr
Shepherd next month and the Flying Nun founder would find
"heaps of talent in the city".
The Verlaines founder and music academic, Dr Graeme Downes,
said the strength of the label was Mr Shepherd's ability to
pick the right artists.
"He was one of the most genius A & R (Artist and
Recording) people in the world. When an album came out you
would buy it without having heard it . . . that was the
Former Dunedin music store owner Roy Colbert said Flying Nun
launched the Dunedin Sound to the world and "everyone is
waiting for 1981 to happen again".
"It was a magic time."