Michael Gudinski, Legendary Founder of Australia’s Mushroom Group, Dies at 68

Jazz Tangcay
·3 min read

Michael Gudinski, founder of the Mushroom Group, Australia’s largest independent entertainment company, has died. He was 68.

Gudinski’s death was confirmed in a statement posted on the Mushroom Group’s website. “It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Michael Gudinski AM overnight,” the statement reads. “The much-loved Australian music legend died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Melbourne, Australia.”

The tribute continues: “Michael Gudinski was a key figure in shaping the Australian music industry. He founded the Mushroom Group in 1972 at just 20 years old, which flourished into Australia’s largest independent entertainment group covering touring, record labels, publishing, merchandising, booking agencies, film and television production and creative services. Some of Australia’s most iconic albums have been released under one of his Mushroom Group record labels. His touring company Frontier Touring is Australia’s leading promoter, touring the biggest names in global music since its inception in 1979.”

Gudinski was the mastermind behind Kylie Minogue, Eskimo Joe and other Australian artists such as Split Enz, The Choirboys, Skyhooks and many more.

The Mushroom Group also comprises of booking agencies Premier Artists and The Harbour Agency, as well as management companies.

Bruce Springsteen honored Gudinski on Twitter, writing: “My friend Michael Gudinski was first, last and always a music man. I’ve toured the world for the last fifty years and never met a better promoter. Michael always spoke with a deep rumbling voice, and the words would spill out so fast that half the time I needed an interpreter. But I could hear him clear as a bell when he would say, ‘Bruce, I’ve got you covered.’ And he always did.”

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When the pandemic forced a shutdown, Gudinski developed “Music From The Home Front” and “The Sound and The State Of Music,” platforms which were designed to showcase and support contemporary Australian music.

Talking last May about “Music From The Home Front,” Gudinski said, “It was very moving and uplifting at a time it was needed. More importantly, it showed there was a definite prime time TV demand for Australian music.”

With the continued success of the Mushroom Group and his pivot to showcasing Australian artists through platforms during the pandemic, Gudinski said, “If young managers want some advice, I’ll be there for them. I’m going into sports: not promoting sports, but a couple of people who work for me come from a sports background, and maybe we’ll end up managing a few sportspeople.”

He had also mentioned plans for expansion of the group, with a strategy to expand to major cities around the world including London, New York and Los Angeles. He hoped to challenge Live Nation and AEG. “I’m not ready to put my feet up, I’ve still got an eye on the brand’s legacy,” Gudinski emphasized.

The statement said, “It speaks to the man he was that of his countless illustrious career achievements these projects, that supported the industry he loved, were ones he was particularly proud of.”

He is survived by his wife Sue, his son Matt and partner Cara, daughter Kate and husband Andrew and their children Nina-Rose and Lulu.

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