Michael Gudinski AM, founder and head of one of Australia’s largest independent label companies, Mushroom Group, has died aged 68.
According to a company statement, Gudinski died in his sleep overnight. TMN reports that Gudinski was expected to announce a “major project with the Victorian Government to bolster the state’s music industry” in the coming weeks.
Gudinski founded Mushroom Group in 1972, aged 20. Years before that, he reportedly formed his first booking agency and promoted dances as a teenager. Gudinski is also credited as boosting Kylie Minogue’s profile as a young artist, signing her to Mushroom and releasing ‘Locomotion’ in 1987.
He also headed major touring agency Frontier, which formed in 1979 and is part of Mushroom Group.
Over the past year, Mushroom Group has collaborated with the Victorian Government and the ABC to launch a number of initiatives that would support artists during the pandemic, including music TV series The Sound, live-streamed performance series The State of Music and Sounds Better Together.
Gudinski was also behind the Music From The Home Front ANZAC Day benefit concert last year, which included a lineup of Kevin Parker, Courtney Barnett, G Flip, Paul Kelly and Missy Higgins, among others.
“It speaks to the man he was that of his countless illustrious career achievements these projects, that supported the industry he loved, were ones he was particularly proud of,” a Mushroom spokesperson said on his passing.
“Michael was renowned for his loyalty and dedication. 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.”
Gudinski is survived by his wife Sue, son Matt (who is Mushroom Group’s executive director), daughter Kate and two grandchildren.
Members of the Australian arts, sport and media industries have mourned Gudinski on social media following news of his passing. Ed Sheeran, Queens Of The Stone Age, Russell Crowe, Alex Lahey, Cub Sport, Briggs and Garbage are among the many to have paid tribute to the late entrepreneur.
Kylie Minogue, who was signed to Mushroom Records from 1987 to 2008, posted a tribute on social media.
“Legend. Legacy. LOVE. A Titan of the music industry,” Minogue wrote.
“One of a kind and forever family to me. My heart is broken and I can’t believe he’s gone. Irreplaceable and unforgettable, I’ll always love you ‘The Big G’.
MICHAEL GUDINSKI – Legend. Legacy. LOVE. A Titan of the music industry. One of a kind and forever family to me. My heart is broken and I can’t believe he’s gone. Irreplaceable and unforgettable, I’ll always love you ‘The Big G’. pic.twitter.com/vCk8BcpZbR
— Kylie Minogue (@kylieminogue) March 2, 2021
Bruce Springsteen posted a statement on social media as well, saying that he’s “never met a better promoter”.
“Michael always spoke with a deep rumbling voice, and the words would spill out so fast that half the time I needed an interpreter,” he continued.
“But I could hear him clear as a bell when he would say, ‘Bruce, I’ve got you covered.’ And he always did.”
A statement on the death of our great Australian promoter, Michael Gudinski. pic.twitter.com/4fJdY8n7Eb
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) March 2, 2021
Foo Fighters also shared a tribute, calling Gudinski “a true fucking legend”.
Thank You Michael Gudinski for giving us and countless others the best night of our lives. Over and over again. A true fucking legend. We will miss you dearly. Rock & Roll will miss you deeply. pic.twitter.com/uRLCulkk4n
— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) March 2, 2021
Australia’s Shadow Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke MP, released a statement earlier today, writing “You simply cannot tell the story of Australian music without Michael Gudinski squarely in the centre of it.”
“For nearly 50 years,” he continued, “he was a passionate and relentless advocate for the local music industry and the artists that make it great.
“When he started in show business in his teens, Australian music was a cottage industry. He was instrumental in turning it into a powerhouse, earning him the title ‘the father of the Australian music industry’.”
Read more tributes to Gudinski below.
Heartbroken to hear about the loss of the incomparable Michael Gudinski. Thank you for your infectious passion, your love & for always making our home away from home – feel like home.
— QOTSA (@qotsa) March 2, 2021
Michael Gudinski was a force of nature; anyone who came into his orbit will never forget him. We had our ups and downs way back in the day but his passionate advocacy for Australian music was never in doubt. pic.twitter.com/3pynpTqPfS
— Midnight Oil (@midnightoilband) March 2, 2021
I join the entire Australian music industry in sending my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the music industry icon Michael Gudinski. Growing up in the 80’s, every hopeful musician dreamed of being on Mushroom Records. A huge loss. Thank you for the music. 💜
— Darren Hayes (@darrenhayes) March 2, 2021
RIP Michael Gudinski. Seems almost impossible. A towering figure on the Australian cultural landscape.
I’m not sure we ever agreed on anything, except maybe @edsheeran . Still didn’t stop us from being mates for 30 years. I’m going to miss him deeply. My love to his family.
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) March 2, 2021
Devastating 😭😭😭😭 What an inspiring and uplifting person to know. Thank you for encouraging us and believing in what we do 🙏 Sending so much love to all friends and family ❤️❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/fbJoqLiurZ
— CUB SPORT (@cubsportmusic) March 2, 2021
We finally caught up face to face last week, I was meant to call ya back today mate. Michael Gudinski, what a powerhouse. Rest easy.
— Senator Briggs (@Briggs) March 1, 2021
Vale Michael Gudinski. An very sad and shocking day for Australian music. Sending my love to the Gudinski family, the Mushroom family, friends and colleagues of MG. What a legacy. Always number one ☝️
— Alex Lahey (@AlexLahey) March 2, 2021
Today we mourn the loss of an Australian music giant and lifelong Saint.
Vale, Michael Gudinski. pic.twitter.com/08YS2oZUeI
— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) March 2, 2021
Utterly shocked to hear about the death of Michael Gudinski. Such a character and so full of life. What an extraordinary legacy he leaves. My condolences to his family.
— Myf Warhurst (@MyfWarhurst) March 1, 2021
This is truly devastating news. Not just for the music industry which he built nearly single handedly, but for his family, who he adored. A giant. Michael Gudinski dead aged 68, industry in shock | Herald Sun https://t.co/Z8nOGwFpQf
— David Campbell OAM (@DavidCampbell73) March 1, 2021
Australia's music legend, and a dear friend. Michael Gudinski's love and passion for music and family is like no other. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity he gave me to release my first single and album, and the journey that it took me on for so many years.
— Dannii Minogue (@DanniiMinogue) March 2, 2021
RIP Michael Gudinski. One of the most influential people in Aus music history. Always supportive of artists (in my case even after leaving his company, which meant a lot), and one of the loudest champions of the local music community. A one of one. Love to his family today.
— Illy (@illyal) March 2, 2021
Shocked and saddened to hear about the death of Michael Gudinski. We were both at the Oils gig in Sydney on Thursday. It’s hard to think of anyone who did more for Australian music than Michael. Vale.
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) March 2, 2021
Rock on you fucking freak. We love you so much Michael Gudinski – you total legend. Going to miss you like a limb. You were the best. The last of your kind. Our sincere condolences to Sue & the kids, all your artists, your many mates and your beloved Australia. Love you forever. pic.twitter.com/dOMKWkf9x2
— Garbage (@garbage) March 2, 2021
The saddest day . #MichaelGudinski , lion of Australasian recorded and live music for as long as anyone can remember , died last night. The loveliest fella; funny, kind and generous . He gave so much , he was tireless . We grieve for you Michael. https://t.co/VsuEMOzH1V
— Sam Neill (@TwoPaddocks) March 2, 2021
Michael Gudinski did a lot for people within the music industry and for the people of Australia, particularly over the last couple of years. Our thoughts are with his friends and family. Very sad news.
— Hilltop Hoods (@hilltophoods) March 2, 2021
The passing of Michael Gudinski has left me in a state of shock. He was a true pioneer in the music industry and a man who believed in the development of artists like myself & many others. His friendship knew no bounds. He was a genuine original, & not replaceable. May you #RIP pic.twitter.com/RWGEZKQ9lA
— Marcia Hines (@TheMarciaHines) March 2, 2021
— Bryan Adams (@bryanadams) March 2, 2021
I am so so saddened to hear that Michael Gudinski has passed away. A giant of the music industry and just a great mate to so many of us. He entered every room and every conversation with energy and passion and am thinking of Sue and his family today who he just loved so much. pic.twitter.com/6euofUo4tU
— Carrie Bickmore (@BickmoreCarrie) March 2, 2021
Vale Michael Gudinski. A titan of Australian music who touched more lives than we can ever comprehend. He was the greatest champion of music and a great friend to us. We will miss you immensely. Love to the family and all at @MushroomGroup. Kenny, Sparky, Berney, Westy and Glenn. pic.twitter.com/mGr9r2PzKI
— birdsoftokyo (@BIRDSOFTOKYO) March 2, 2021
Michael Gudinski was a force of nature. Big love to ya, mate ❤️https://t.co/utrwV5rsJ6
— Ben Lee (@benleemusic) March 2, 2021