- Alberts history dates back to 1885
Alberts has played a vital role in the evolution of Australia’s media and popular culture since the early days of sheet music and music publishing through to the birth of commercial radio and television and on to helping establish and build Australia's music industry.
Started in 1885 in Sydney’s Newtown by immigrant Swiss watchmaker and musician Jacques Albert (1850-1914), the business now known as Alberts was originally a watch and clock repair shop. In 1894 the business took the name J. Albert & Son when Jacques’s son Frank (1874-1962) joined him. Alberts quickly expanded to sell musical instruments and sheet music. It was soon known for its cheap and portable Boomerang mouth organs and songbooks known as Boomerang Songsters, pocket-sized books with the music and lyrics to popular American, English and later Australian songs.
In 1902 Jacques travelled to the US and began competing with other Australian publishers such as Allans Music and E.W. Cole for the Australian sub-publishing rights to the hits of the day. He secured the rights to international catalogues and composers including Shapiro, Bernstein & Co; E.B. Marks; and Irving Berlin.
In 1904 Frank took a prominent role in the business and expanded its publishing catalogue. In 1929 Frank’s son Alexis (1904-1996) joined the firm and in that same year Frank co-founded and became an inaugural director of the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA).
Over the next 80 years subsequent family members Alexis, Ted and David Albert would become board members.
Keen to remain in radio, in 1933 Albert, Doyle and Fuller’s Australian Broadcasting Company acquired the licence for commercial radio station 2UW. By 1956 Alberts had acquired 100 per cent of that company and ultimately expanded its radio network to a stable of seven commercial radio stations, covering Sydney (2UW, later MIX 106.5 FM), Brisbane (4BC), regional Queensland (4RO, 4MB and 4GR), Canberra (2CC and also KIX-FM), and Melbourne (3DB, later 3TT and subsequently TT-101.1 FM). In 1987 that network, then called Commonwealth Broadcasting Network, was renamed the Australian Radio Network and remained in family hands until 1995, when Alberts sold it to Australian Provincial Newspaper Holdings.In 1954 Frank’s son Alexis became a founding director (and Alberts a shareholder) in Amalgamated Television Services, the licensee of ATN7 (Sydney). He remained on the board for 33 years.
In 1959 Alexis’s son Ted (1936-1990) joined the business and focused on discovering Australian bands. In 1964 he established Albert Productions, an independent music production arm of J. Albert & Son, and soon signed Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs and the Easybeats, later adding fledgling bands such as Ted Mulry Gang, AC/DC, the Angels and Rose Tattoo and putting them on the world stage. Ted became known as one of the best producers and talent spotters in the business in partnership with songwriting duo Harry Vanda and George Young. He is regarded as the father of the Australian rock industry.In 1988 Ted collaborated with a young Baz Luhrmann to adapt his stage play Strictly Ballroom for the screen. Ted died suddenly in 1990 before filming was complete, but the success of the film helped launch Luhrmann’s career.
Ted’s brothers Robert (1934-) and Tony (1939-2000), who had joined Alberts in 1984, continued running the company, and today Alberts remains in family hands, led by Chairman Robert and Robert’s son David (1971-), the CEO and fifth generation member.
Today, Alberts continues to strive to be a leading Australian independently owned Music Rights Management company. The enlivening creative hub for local artists, songwriters, composers and producers may find its epicentre at Neutral Bay, but the strong relationships with sub-publishers and international contacts furthers the reach for their local artists such Wally DeBacker (Gotye), San Cisco, Megan Washington, AC/DC, Cezary Skubiszewski, Lee Groves and creates the ideal Australian home for likeminded internationals such as David Guetta, Fred Riesterer and Cosmo Jarvis. The company is still as passionate about investing in today’s artists and providing the services and support they need as they did in the past.
In mid- 2008, Alberts moved into a slightly new area, making two strategic investments – the music-driven online entertainment company Sound Alliance and forward thinking manager Troy Barrott’s company, Hub Artist Services. His roster today includes acts such as Megan Washington, Winter People, John Castle, Old Man River and Dappled Cities. Alongside the two companies, Alberts have been supporters of music initiatives such as FBi Social, Nordoff Robbins Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition and not-for-profit music focussed organisations Nordoff Robbins, Support Act and Mission Australia’s Creative Youth Initiative.
More than 125 years since it first began, Alberts is still in family hands and continues to shape the history of music and entertainment by being proactive in its approach to music.
It’s all about the song!
To DISCOVER more on how the ALBERT FAMILY shaped the HISTORY of Music and Entertainment in AUSTRALIA, read "HOUSE OF HITS" (written by JANE ALBERT)