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Michael Gudinski

Managing Director,
Frontier Touring Company - Albert Park
Albert Park, Victoria, Australia
Few figures loom as large in the history of the Australian music industry as Michael Gudinski. More than 40 years after co-founding Mushroom Records and Mushroom Music Publishing, Michael is still passionately taking Australian music to the world.

Born to Russian immigrants in 1952, the future success of Michael Gudinski could probably have been predicted back in 1959. At the ripe old age of seven years Michael showed his entrepreneurial side on Caulfield Cup day when he charged race goers for parking spaces in a vacant block next to his home. From there he never looked back, promoting gigs at Melbourne halls for alternative acts such as Chain and The Aztecs and developing his first taste for what would be a lifelong love affair with the music industry.

In 1972 Michael and business partner Ray Evans staged, managed and booked all the entertainment at the legendary new Sunbury Festival. In the same year Michael simultaneously founded Mushroom Records – which was to eventually develop into the largest independent record label in Australian music – and Mushroom Music, which is today the principal independent publishing company in Australia.

At the same time, Michael developed his interest in the touring industry, promoting his first ever international tour – John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers – with Ray Evans to overwhelming success. Michael made more money out of one night’s show than he had ever dreamed possible – and all at the age of 20.

Michael was also managing a number of up-and-coming bands at this time, including Chain and Skyhooks. Both acts were to produce number one hits, but it was Skyhooks which went on to cement the future success of Mushroom Records. Their debut album, Living In The 70’s, spent 16 weeks at number one in Australia, selling 240,000 copies. No Australian album had sold more at that point in time.

In 1998 Michael sold Mushroom Records to Murdoch’s News Limited Group while retaining the Mushroom Group name. 1993 had seen the Murdoch Group become a shareholder in Mushroom Records and the company continued to move from strength to strength. Considerable successes with Kylie in Australia and the UK had set up Mushroom Records as a notable force in the recording industry, and UK artist signings with Ash and Garbage (four Grammy nominations) and Peter Andre’s #1 success with his Mysterious Girl single and the Natural album in the UK charts cemented the organisation’s expansion into the UK with Infectious Records. The eventual sale in 1998 coincided with the 25th anniversary of Mushroom Records and more than 75,000 people helped celebrate the occasion with a spectacular concert at the MCG in Melbourne, starring more than 60 artists and lasting nine hours.

In 2009 Michael was a co-organiser of the Sound Relief concerts held at the Melbourne and Sydney Cricket Grounds. The concerts were staged as fundraisers for those affected by the February 2009 Victorian bushfires and Queensland floods, and featured acts such as Coldplay, Kings Of Leon, Splitz Enz, Midnight Oil and The Presets.

Michael continues to work with enormous enthusiasm across all facets of his companies, and is frequently seen trekking from pub gig to entertainment centre, in Australia and abroad, looking for the next big thing to promote – be it through his record labels, touring companies, agencies or publishing arm.