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News September 2, 2020

Michael Gudinski on Music From The Home Front and how The Sound “is not a money-making venture”

Michael Gudinski on Music From The Home Front and how The Sound “is not a money-making venture”

If Michael Gudinski is feeling exhausted from 2020, he’s earned it.

When the COVID-19 crisis smashed the touring circuit, Gudinski hit the phones and turned his attention to the small screen.

In a short time, the Mushroom Group chairman organised Music From The Home Front, a virtual concert on Anzac Day, featuring more than 50 music stars from both sides of the Tasman.

The special show beamed out on the commercial Nine Network, and captured 1.4 million viewers on a day when most of us were instructed to stay away from crowds and lock it down at home.

Then, through a partnership with the Victorian Government’s Victoria Together initiative, Gudinski took it online for The State of Music, a six-part streaming series which shone a light on homegrown talent.

Another new venture, The Sound, produced by Mushroom Vision for the ABC, has just wrapped its first season with six episodes featuring the biggest and brightest names in Australian music, from Kylie Minogue to Paul Kelly, G Flip, Nick Cave, Tones And I and many more.

That’s a full-bodied media experience, with each format established from scratch, during lockdowns and counting commercial networks, plus the publicly-funded ABC, and state government among the partners.

Music From The Home Front

Music From The Home Front

Gudinski isn’t slowing anytime soon.

This Friday (4th September) is the final stage in the rollout of Mushroom’s Music From The Home Front charity album, this time released as a limited-edition vinyl set spread across three discs.

“It’s been the most uplifting project in a difficult time,” Gudinski tells TIO. “I’ve learnt so much,” he says, paying tribute to the “amazing creative younger people I’ve got.”

Initially released in June as a double CD and digital download via the Bloodlines label, Music From The Home Front went straight to No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart, with 100% of its profits pumped into Support Act.

Music From The Home Front is just the second triple vinyl ever released in Australia via Mushroom, following the live Sunbury album, recorded and issued in the early 1970s.

“I think the album will go back to be No. 1,” enthuses Gudinski, “and be the biggest selling vinyl album in the modern era.”

Gudinski, as he’s done so often this year, will hit the phones hard to secure the home for season two of The Sound.

“This is not a money-making venture. In fact it’s a bit of a losing venture.” he explains. “This is not about my labels. This is about Australian music. It’s been incredible to me.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews with Mushroom’s Chairman and Founder Michael Gudinski

Gudinski threw all the company’s resources into the project. 

“The Mushroom Creative House, they spent two nights a week essentially sleepless,” he recounts. “Everyone has worked so hard, it makes me realise the people who do shows like ‘Today’ and ‘Sunrise,’ how hard it is to keep it up and do it every day.”

The Sunday evening shows have been embraced by the “whole industry, and the public. We’ve made such a strong impression,” Gudinski says.

Negotiations are ongoing with broadcast partners for The Sound, with an announcement expected in the weeks ahead. 

“I’m sure if I had to, there’d be great commercial interest. But I’m a pretty loyal bloke and I’d be very surprised if we don’t work out to continue with the ABC,” he explains.

“I think it works well where it is. Music needs to be treated properly. There are no commercials on the ABC, they have the best system in iView. It’s our ABC, after all.”

In this wild year, Gudinski even found a moment to a launch a new label, Reclusive Records. He isn’t done building stuff. “I’m absolutely loving work,” he admits.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.

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