QUEEN and Universal Music Group have renewed their partnership with a new, long-term deal that will herald a range of exciting projects from the band including a raft of rare and unreleased material and a film.
The agreement was announced at Monday's (December 2) launch of "Queen: The Studio Experience", a major new QUEEN exhibition in Montreux, Switzerland. Brian May and Roger Taylor were in Montreux to officiate the opening.
The exhibition provides a unique behind the scenes glimpse into the band's recording life during the years spent working at the Swiss town's Mountain Studios where, between 1979 and 1995, QUEEN created six albums, including "Jazz" and the seminal "Made In Heaven". The exhibition will raise awareness and funds for the Mercury Phoenix Trust, the AIDS charity set up by QUEEN and their manager Jim Beach immediately after front man Freddie Mercury's tragic death from AIDS in 1991.
The new Universal deal, which covers the world outside North America, comes three years after QUEEN first signed with Universal Music. That move saw the band release music through Island Records for the first time in its history and signalled the start of a major remastering and repackaging program, providing live tracks, alternative takes and other additional content for QUEEN's 15 studio albums.
In 2011 the band and label also celebrated QUEEN's 40th anniversary with a major marketing campaign and a series of high profile events, including the "Stormtroopers In Stilettos" exhibition staged in London in February 2011 and a major BBC TV documentary on the band.
Max Hole, chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group International, said: "We have loved working with QUEEN over last three years. QUEEN remains one of the biggest, boldest and most influential bands in the world. The band and Universal Music have lots of ambitious plans for the future."
QUEEN's Brian May and Roger Taylor said: "We have also enjoyed working with Universal. In spite of being the biggest music company in the world they succeed in retaining a very hands-on personal relationship with their artists, something we much appreciate."
Supporting the Mercury Phoenix Trust, fighting AIDS worldwide, and sponsored by the Fondation Barrière, "Queen: The Studio Experience" features memorabilia from the recording studio and the band's personal archives, including original handwritten song lyrics, costumes and instruments, together with a small cinema. The centerpiece of the exhibition is the studio control room, still in its original state, where visitors will be able to create their own mixes of selected QUEEN tracks including Freddie Mercury's last recorded vocal, "Mother Love".