Michael Gudinski dies at 68
Australian music mogul Michael Gudinski, AM, has died in Melbourne aged 68.
TMN understands he passed away overnight Monday, just weeks before he was to announce a major project with the Victorian Government to bolster the state’s music industry.
For over 50 years, Gudinski enjoyed a reputation as a high-energy, relentless businessman, who drove his passion for music through his Mushroom Group ventures.
In 2017, these numbered 24, a conservative number as he admitted he couldn’t remember them all. The most high profile were Mushroom Records, Frontier Touring and Premier Artists.
In recent years, as Frontier toured superstars Ed Sheeran and Bruce Springsteen, Pollstar ranked Frontier as among the top three promoters in the world.
Gudinski began in show business in his teens, when some school friends suggested they run dances during the holidays. Soon he had quit school as the dances were becoming lucrative.
Talking of his passion for Australian music, he once said: “The talent was always here but the industry was a cottage industry.
“It was very frustrating because, at the time, Australians always thought anything that came from overseas – whether it was music, cars or fashion designs – was better.”
Mushroom Records started with no business plan but with the idea that its records should come with expensive packaging, strong marketing and a highly defined sense of showbiz pizzazz.
Mushroom ran into financial problems many times as some of its acts failed to get commercial airplay. Each time one act – whether Skyhooks, Kylie Minogue, Split Enz or Jimmy Barnes – would come up with blockbusters that kept the label afloat so he could sign more alternative acts.
Gudinski was a pioneer in many ways, including the number of women he employed in senior roles, or signing First Nations acts before they were accepted by the wider music community.
Last year when the live industry shuttered, within a weekend, Gudinski moved his operations to create TV shows The Sound and State Of Play, to keep local live acts in front of audiences.
To make them work, he used his close contacts with politicians and media.
And such was his reputation with younger generations, he was asked to enter politics.
In 2006 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Music industry accolades included an ARIA Award for Special Achievement (1992), APRA’s Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music (1998), the inaugural ARIA Industry Icon (2013) and being inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Music Victoria Awards of 2013.
A full tribute will follow on TMN. This is a developing story.