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CHRIS WRIGHT BACK ON TOP AT CHRYSALIS RECORDS

                Pictured L-R: Robin Millar, Jeremy Lascelles, Chris Wright and Robert Devereux.

Chrysalis
 co-founder Chris Wright is back at the helm of the British label he launched in 1968, as Blue Raincoat purchases the imprint from Warner. ”I feel totally exhilarated by this wonderful opportunity, which I never thought would ever happen, even in my dreams,” Wright tells HITS.

“I was very sad to lose the record company almost 30 years ago and, of course, I never thought I would ever be returning to it as Chairman and as a partner/significant shareholder.”

Purchased by EMI for around $100m (plus debt) 27 years ago, Chrysalis was one of the divestments required by regulators during the Universal/EMI merger in 2012. Warner became its new owner after purchasing the Parlophone Label Group, which included the U.K. Chrysalis catalogue. However, WMG was required to make divestments of recorded music assets to the tune of $200m+ to the independent community, thanks to a deal struck with Merlin/IMPALA.

The Chrysalis sale is understood to be the official beginnings of that process, and follows Radiohead’s back catalogue being returned to Richard Russell’s XL. Wright last ended his ties to Chrysalis in 2010 when its publishing arm was sold to BMG U.K. for £107m.

Blue Raincoat is run by ex-Chrysalis chief Jeremy Lascelles and Sade producer Robin Millar CBE, and Wright is a partner and financial backer alongside business partner Robert Devereux. Lascelles now becomes CEO of Chrysalis Records, Wright is a Non Executive Chairman, and Millar is CCO. Artists on the label’s roster include, amongst others, Sinead O’Connor, The Specials, Debbie Harry and Ultravox. There are plans to sign new acts.

Wright continued: “I have every confidence that it is in great hands, with Jeremy Lascelles as the Chief Executive and that between the four of us, Jeremy, Robert, Robin and myself, we can restore its identity to what it was in its heyday. All in all, a very poignant moment.” 

Lascelles said “This is a wonderful moment. Chrysalis Records is for the first time in many years, back in the hands of an independent. And I’m doubly delighted that we have got Chris on board as well. For him to be reunited with a company that he started nearly 50 years ago is pretty special."

“Chrysalis is an iconic brand with an incredible catalogue containing some of the great songs of its era – the likes of "Ghost Town," "Nothing Compares To U," "The Whole of the Moon" and "Vienna," still sound as relevant today as they ever did.”

Millar added: “There are reasons why great artists sometimes get through and sometimes don’t. A great artist needs time, constant support and a strong team. That time and teamwork has been conspicuously absent in recent years."

“It’s no coincidence we don’t have enough artists that change the thinking of a generation today. We’re letting the air back into that room and re-igniting the genius that resides in the Chrysalis vaults which is a big part of that process.”

*Additional reporting on this story by Mike Sigman

 

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