Aztec Music Saved By Dainty-Led Consortium

26 May 2012 | 4:20 pm | Scott Fitzsimons

The Melbourne re-issue specialists were forced into receivership in March.

Melbourne label Aztec Music, who were forced in receivership in March, has been bought by a consortium of 'strategic' investors led by Paul Dainty. They assume immediate control of Aztec's assets, particularly the label's catalogue.

Aztec, which was formed in 2004 by Ted Lethborg and former Aztecs drummer Gil Matthews, specialised in importing bulk albums and vinyl for retailers as well as re-releasing classic Australian albums that are otherwise out of print.

Lethborg will head-up the new operation and in a joint statement today said, "To get a second chance to continue the preservation of Australia's rich musical heritage (via the Aztec Music reissue label) is an unexpected and welcome surprise. We are all looking forward to both working towards resurrecting the label and continuing our unique music importing model."

Dainty, best known for being one of Australia's biggest promoters, added, “Aztec Music has left an indelible mark on the Australian music scene. The new team looks forward to continuing the tradition through the reissue of classic Australian albums and the importation of rare and highly collectible compilations from overseas."

Distribution will be handled by Gryphon Entertainment.

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The purchase saves Aztec from liquidation, which had been feared when the receivership was announced in March.

In a statement then Lethborg said, “Two years ago, Aztec Music (the importer) lost in excess of $350,000 from distributors and music stores closing down/going out of business. That's way too much for a small company to endure and, in the end, it caught up with us and the bank had no choice but to withdraw their finance.

“As to what happens to the (my) label, time will tell. I am hopeful that I will be able to either rescue or re-launch it. We have released over 60 titles (with many more to come) and we were just about to start our vinyl reissue program,” he said.

Aztec's importing arm suffered from declining CD sales and the ability of consumers to buy international products online themselves. A directive from one of the major retail chains to only order Aztec imports for customer orders, and not for shelf-stock as they had been doing, appeared to be a hit for Aztec.