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Mushroom Group founder Michael Gudinski dies

By | Published on Tuesday 2 March 2021

Michael Gudinski

The founder of Australian music company the Mushroom Group, Michael Gudinski, has died. He was 68. In a statement, the music firm said that he died at his home in Melbourne earlier today.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Michael Gudinski overnight”, the statement confirmed. “The much-loved Australian music legend died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Melbourne, Australia”.

“Michael was renowned for his loyalty and dedication”, it went on. “His ability to achieve the unachievable against unsurmountable odds was proven time and again and spoke to his absolute passion for his career and life … Michael’s legacy will live on through his family and the enormously successful Mushroom Group – an enduring embodiment of decades of passion and determination from an incredible man”.

Gudinski began his career in music booking dances in and around Melbourne, aged fifteen, and then moved on to booking and managing bands. In 1970, he dropped out of school to launch his first company, booking agency Consolidated Rock.

In 1972, when Gudinski was 20 years old, he founded independent label Mushroom Records, followed by a sister publishing company the next year. He quickly began aligning with other existing companies, and in 1979 launched live music division Frontier Touring. Mushroom Group has grown to become Australia’s most successful independent music business, covering touring, record labels, publishing, merchandising, booking agencies, film and television production, and creative services.

In the 90s, he launched a UK division of the company, and partnered with Korda Marshall on the launch of Infectious Records, along the way signing acts including Ash, Muse, Peter Andre and Garbage. In 1993, he also sold a stake in Mushroom Records to Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited Group. He sold his remaining stake in the label to Murdoch five years later, but retained the Mushroom Group name and continued to grow the remaining company.

Among the many people paying tribute this morning was Kylie Minogue, who worked with Mushroom both early on and later in her career. She wrote on social media that Gudinski was “a titan of the music industry”, adding: “My heart is broken and I can’t believe he’s gone. Irreplaceable and unforgettable, I’ll always love you ‘The Big G'”.