Michael Gudinski, Australian music mogul and Mushroom records co-founder, dies aged 68

Kelly Burke
·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Australian music promotion legend Michael Gudinski has died suddenly at the age of 68.

Tributes began pouring in on social media on Tuesday morning for the Mushroom Records and Frontier Touring co-founder, who died in Melbourne on Monday night, according to a statement released by the company.

Among those paying tribute on Tuesday were Bruce Springsteen, who tweeted that Gudinski was “first, last and always a music man” who was “deeply soulful”.

Related: Australian live entertainment industry warns more job losses

For five decades Gudinski championed Australian acts, including Skyhooks, Kylie Minogue, New Zealand-born Split Enz and more recently, Eskimo Joe and Evermore.

He also brought to Australia many of the world’s top artists, including Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, the Police and more recently, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift.

When Covid-19 shut down the music industry in 2020, Gudinski launched the online Live music series The State of Music, in support of local musicians who lost their livelihoods overnight. The series became the ABC TV show The Sound.

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Gudinski collected a number of Aria swards over the years including the special achievement award in 1992. In 2013 he was acknowledged as the inaugural Aria industry icon.

In 2006 he was made a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia.

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The Music Network described the Melbourne-based entrepreneur as a “high-energy, relentless businessman, who drove his passion for music” through his Mushroom Group ventures.

“Mushroom ran into financial problems many times as some of its acts failed to get commercial airplay,” the network’s contributing author Christie Eliezer wrote.

“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.”

Music Victoria said Gudinski would be greatly missed and had left an enduring legacy.

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Musician Ben Lee described him as “a force of nature”.

Actor Russell Crowe hailed the promoter as “a towering figure on the Australian cultural landscape”.

“I’m not sure we ever agreed on anything, except maybe @edsheeran,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “Still didn’t stop us from being mates for 30 years. I’m going to miss him deeply.”