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Flying Nun label to be sold

From Radioscope website
New Life For Old Nun?
Posted by Paul Kennedy
May 22, 2009 at 11:02 AM

New Zealand's most iconic music label, Flying Nun, could be set for a new lease on life.

Warner Music MD Phil Howling confirms that negotiations are underway to sell the label which it inherited when it merged with Festival Mushroom Records (FMR) in 2005, and it is strongly rumoured that the prospective buyer is none other than original founder Roger Shepherd.

Shepherd worked closely with Warners on the 2006 Flying Nun box set, compiling the tracks for the 4CD retrospective of highlights and personal favourites, and the speculation is that a series of vinyl reissues are in the works.

Adding fuel to the rumours, local digital music retailer Amplifier yesterday recieved instructions to remove a list of Flying Nun titles from their online shelves - seemingly clearing the decks while new ownership details are sorted out.

Based in Wellington these days, Shepherd has become more involved in local music matters recently having moved back to New Zealand after a long stint in the UK. Most notably, he was one of the few to speak out in favour of the stricter policing by ISPs during the Section92A debate to try and rein in the online copyright infringment blamed for much of the industry's current financial woes.

Originally established in Christchurch in 1981, Flying Nun went on to become a genre-spanning bastion of New Zealand alternative, rock, industrial and pop music, gaining a cult following not just at home but internationally. Just last week The Guardian in the UK was still reminiscing and singing the label's praises.

In 1990 half the shares in Flying Nun were sold to Festival Records, then a decade later it got swept up into the 2000 merger with Mushrom, forming FMR. Since the 2005 Warners buy-out, the label has been largely dormant with the notabale exception of a couple of critically acclaimed albums by The Mint Chicks and The Phoenix Foundation.

For the definitive Flying Nun history lesson, check out the six-part RNZ audio-on-demand documentary series.

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