Arch Hill Records boss Ben Howe wrote a revealing post at the
When it was reported just before christmas that Shepherd had bought the label back off Warners, I was surprised to read that Warners would be distribution partner (given they've paid scant interest in any of the FNun catalogue to date), and that Shepherd seemed to be going into this alone.
He's been out of the music industry for most of the past ten years, and it has changed dramatically in that time. The last time he ventured into the music industry was to add his weight to the RIANZ's support for S92a of the Copyright Act, which subsequently got struck out by John Key and revised to a more sensible position. However, he has been working with Howe since early 2006, and has developed a number of ideas...
"... Out of these discussions a plan started to emerge. Roger and I were going to start a new record label. Actually, we decided we were going to start two new record labels. One for new emerging artists and the other for re-issues and re-releases of the old good stuff. I would also keep Arch Hill going and the three labels would work together, complimenting each other.
For the new artists label our focus was going to be overseas. We had a couple of good acts in mind. I wrote up proposals and met up with the head of Sony/BMG Michael Bradshaw and with A&R man Malcolm Black. I also met with Adam Holt at Universal. Our plan was to look for some kind of backing to help try and make this new label happen.
For the re-issues label we also had a few things in mind. One of these was a band formerly on Flying Nun. They were one of Roger’s favourites. The band were keen to release a re-mastered compilation. Of course our first question was, legally could we do this? Was the band still contracted to Flying Nun (now owned by Warners, who had bought Festival Mushroom, who had bought Mushroom)? After some back and forth we quickly figured out we could. The band had never actually signed a contract and had paid for all the recordings themselves. Flying Nun/Warners legally had no rights to any of their songs and had to concede this fact to the band.
At about this time, in mid 2007, I was back at the Powerstation attending a gig by US band the Shins. Charlotte Ryan – who was then the sole (and last) person responsible for Flying Nun at Warners – was there. We were discussing the re-issues label idea and she said “you know, at a staff meeting the other day Phil Howling [Head of Warners NZ] said they should probably sell Flying Nun”....
Howe goes on to say that "Arch Hill had a successful and functioning label infrastructure in place. We had physical and digital distribution and pretty much everything a contemporary record label needs. In fact, many artists on Arch Hill were once on Flying Nun. It all made good sense...." Read the full post here.
Hat tip to Hussein Moses of The Corner for the Arch Hill link. Go read his story about Jason Kerrison of Opshop building an ark to survive 2012 - "...he plans to survive the “transformative changes” by building a multi-million dollar ark (or “monolithic dome”) that can house 300 people."