Chairman – The Mushroom group of companies
He's been called the rock guru, the music mogul, the mushroom man, and is widely recognised as one of the most important figures in the history of the Australian music industry. Irrefutably he is a man of many faces and his many business interests reflect the multiple facets of both his personality and his talents.
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 like Chain and The Aztecs and developing his first taste for what would be a life long 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. The pair also made quite a tidy profit off selling watermelons at the event. 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 partner Ray Evans to overwhelming success. With tickets priced at $2.50, $3.50 and $4.50 Michael admits to making 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 bands were to produce number one hits, but it was Skyhooks which went on to cement the future success of Mushroom Records.
The ensuing years saw Michael ride the roller coaster that was the developing Australian music industry, winning in some areas, experiencing losses in others.
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 over 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.