|Parent company||BMG (bought in 1996)|
Warner Music Australia (1991–1995)
Shock Records (1995–1996)
rooArt was an Australian independent record label, founded in 1988 by INXS's then-manager, Chris Murphy. The label's roster included several well-known Australian bands and artists such as Crow, Ratcat, Screaming Jets, You Am I, Wendy Matthews, The Hummingbirds, The Trilobites and Amanda Brown. Other bands which made early or first releases on the rooArt label included Hipslingers, The Last Metro, The Lab, The Fauves, Bellicose and Custard. rooArt released a series of three compilation albums of new or then-unsigned acts, called Youngblood. A number of acts released on the compilations went on to record their own albums, including Tall Tales and True, The Trilobites and Martha's Vineyard.
Sydney band Crash Politics were the first band signed to rooArt, which released their debut album Mothers' Intention. The label's second signing was The Hummingbirds, who had released four singles on their previous label Phantom Records, with their debut LP loveBUZZ being one of the first hit albums for rooArt.
Country artist Shanley Del (of the trio Saunders, Kane and Del) had some releases on rooArt, as did country band The Wheel.
The label had a sub-branch called Ra Records, whose focus was on alternative rock; You Am I, Augie March, The Mark Of Cain, The Mandelbrot Set (band) and Buffalo Tom were signed to this. It also had a section called rooArt Jazz, which released an album by Free Spirits in 1990.
rooArt releases were distributed PolyGram until 1991, then by Warner Music Australia, until 1995 when the label switched to the independent Shock Records label to manage its marketing and distribution. In October 1996, on the eve of You Am I's triumph at the ARIA Awards, it was announced that BMG Australia had purchased rooArt for A$5 million.
rooArt is now defunct. Murphy then went on to run Petrol Electric Records.
High Selling rooArt Artists
- THE SCREAMING JETS (Top 5 single: "Better", 1991; album "All For One", 1991)
- WENDY MATTHEWS (singles: "Token Angels", "The Day You Went Away", "Friday's Child"; albums: "Emigre", 1990 & "Lily", 1992)
- YOU AM I (singles: "Berlin Chair" & "Cathy's Clown"; No.1 album: "Hourly, Daily", 1995)
- THE HUMMINGBIRDS (album: "LoveBUZZ" and single: "Blush", both 1989)
- RATCAT (No.1 single "Don't Go Now", No.1 E.P. "Tingles" and No.1 album "Blind Love", all 1991)
- ABSENT FRIENDS (Top 5 single: "I Don't Want To Be With Nobody But You"; album: "Here's Looking Up Your Address", both 1990)
- TALL TALES & TRUE (single: "Summer Of Love")
- WEDDINGS, PARTIES, ANYTHING (singles: "Father's Day" and "Monday's Experts")
- JAMES REYNE (single: "Red Light Avenue"; album: "The Whiff Of Bedlam", 1994)
- Mathieson, Craig (2001). The sell-in: how the music business seduced alternative rock. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-412-3.
- Walker, Clinton (1996). The secret history of Australian independent music: 1977-1991. Sydney: Pan Macmillan. ISBN 0-7329-0883-3.
- Duffy, Thom (November 1994). "Business is Boomeranging". Billboard. 106 (46): 65.
- Duffy, Thom (March 1997). "Australia's You Am I Takes Global Stance With Warners". Billboard. 109 (11): 62.