SYDNEY — James Murdoch, the youngest son of Rupert Murdoch, and News Corp. veep of music and new media, on Tuesday was appointed to the board of Mushroom Records, Australia’s biggest independent music label, which is 50% owned by News Corp.
And while Murdoch junior was being appointed, Mushroom proved its independence by ending its 25-year distribution relationship with News Corp.’s fully owned Oz music group Festival Records. Mushroom instead inked a manufacturing and distribution deal for all its new and back product with Oz’s leading distrib, Sony Music Entertainment Australia.
The deal, which involves such artists as Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Barnes, Kate Ceberano, Garbage, Nick Cave and Deni Hines, includes Mushroom and its imprints White, Melodian, Liberation, Infectious and Bark, but does not include Mushroom’s independent club/dance music arm, MDS.
The appointment of Murdoch, the founder of indie U.S. label Rawkus Records who said he saw “Mushroom as being a central part of News’ expansion into music worldwide,” comes as the company prepares for a push into the U.S., the one market that has eluded the group, which has found success in Asia and the U.K. In the latter, under the eye of Korda Marshall, who also was elevated to the board, Mushroom signed U.K. acts Garbage and Ash, and has scored several hits with Oz singer Peter Andre.