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NZ Herald Obituary

Obituary: Shaun Joyce

Shaun Joyce, music industry executive. Died aged 38.

AS director of marketing and buying at Sounds Music, Shaun Joyce was one of the most powerful figures in the New Zealand music industry.

His ear for a hit, passion for rock'n'roll and enthusiasm introduced numerous bands to the New Zealand public - and contributed to the success of the Sounds chain, now the country's largest independent retailer.

Born on June 4, 1966, and raised in Te Awamutu, Shaun was a huge fan of Jimmy Barnes. He dreamed of becoming a rock star himself. In the 80s he got a taste, playing drums with bands Joe 90 and the Pink Torpedoes. But his real talent was working with people.

It is typical of Shaun that his foray into the music industry was of his own doing. While working as a trainee manager at Woolworths, he positioned himself as manager of the record bar.

Later he joined the Record and Cassette Warehouse (later called Trax) working as the general manager's right hand man. After a brief OE to Australia, he went to work for music chain HMV, managing the Manner's Mall store under Jerry Lloyd.

When HMV was sold, Lloyd recommended him to Sean Coleman, who started the Sounds chain in 1991. While he was there Sounds grew from two Auckland stores to 43 nationwide. A further nine are run as a franchise.

Shaun was a tough negotiator, a sometimes intimidating figure who played hardball in the boardroom.

He had a way of testing people. But once the wall was gone, he was fiercely loyal. Friendships always came first.

Shaun was a staunch supporter of local music - when he believed in a band, he got behind them. Members of Auckland rock band Elemeno P and South Auckland hip-hop label Dawn Raid were among the hundreds who attended his funeral last week.

Many of those who knew Shaun, including me, admired him, feared him and craved his respect. He was a gentle giant whose huge presence will be greatly missed.

Shaun is survived by his wife Sarah and their two daughters Lily and Rosie.