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Power 50 - #1: Michael Gudinski AM

7 March 2019 | 6:40 am | Bryget Chrisfield

#1: Michael Gudinski - Mushroom Group, Executive Chairman

BACKGROUND CHECK 

When he was just seven years old, Michael Gudinski showed obvious entrepreneurial potential when he charged race-goers for parking spaces at Caulfield Cup. Gudinski later went on to promote gigs in Melbourne halls for bands such as Chain (who he later managed) and The Aztecs. In 1972, with his business partner Ray Evans, Gudinski staged, managed and booked all of the entertainment for Sunbury Festival, founding Mushroom Records that same year. The Mushroom Group collective has now expanded to contain two dozen specialist brands across the music and entertainment industry.

THE YEAR THAT WAS

Gudinski returns to the top of The Power 50 for the fourth time since 2012. As Executive Chairman of Mushroom Group - the largest independent music and entertainment company in Australia, which also boasts the biggest promo department in the country - Gudinski's clout is undeniable.

In Billboard's end of year report, Frontier Touring achieved the highest result for an Australian/NZ promoter to date when the company came in at #3, grossing over US$245 million from the sale of 2,768,259 tickets across 440 shows between 2 Dec, 2017 and 17 Nov, 2018. "Frontier has gone from strength to strength over the past decade and I’m incredibly proud to see us, as an independent promoter exclusive to Australia and New Zealand, playing in the same space as global promoting giants AEG Presents and Live Nation," Gudinski commented.

As well as Ed Sheeran's massive stadium run - the biggest tour in Australian/NZ history - Frontier Touring also presented the Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters and Sam Smith tours across the year, just to name a few. After its sold-out Melbourne debut in 2017, Paul Kelly's festive Making Gravy shows expanded to include other states last year. RNB Fridays Live attracted record crowds for a touring festival and A Day On The Green experienced its biggest year across five years in 2018, with the Mt Duneed edition of Florence & The Machine selling out in less than a day.

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Gudinski's passion for Australian music is well documented and, in 2018, he was personally involved in signing The Teskey Brothers - after 12 years as an independent band -  to Ivy League Records, alongside Chris Maund and Marihuzka Cornelius.

In terms of Mushroom Group's various label achievements, Liberation Records offshoot Bloodlines had an impressive first year, cementing its position in the market with some strong ARIA Albums Chart positions including the ARIA Award-winning Working Class Boy (The Soundtracks) by Jimmy Barnes (#3). Kylie Minogue's 14th studio album Golden (Liberator) topped the ARIA Albums Chart (her fifth #1 album in this country). Gudinski signed Minogue when she was just 18 years old and in 2018 she celebrated her 50th birthday. 

Together with Minogue, Tina Arena, Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum and Archie Roach, Gudinski is also a founding patron of the Australian Music Vault, which - in the year since its December 2017 unveiling - attracted nearly 500,000 visitors (80% of whom had never previously visited the Arts Centre Melbourne).

Mushroom Events, Mushroom Group's dedicated special event and corporate functions arm, continues to flourish with 2018 highlights including Sam Smith performing from the Mounting Yard prior to the Melbourne Cup, two weeks of diverse programming on the Australian Open Sessions stage and the AFL Grand Final Day entertainment (Jimmy Barnes and Black Eyed Peas). 

Frontier Touring recently announced a second Hanging Rock date on Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road for 2020 and Mushroom Group's purple patch looks set to continue, with Gudinski revealing, "2019 is set to be another incredibly busy year for us and we’ve got some exciting announcements to come.”

2018'S CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT?

"Achieving the highest result ever for an Australian/NZ promoter at #3 in Billboard's end of year report, Ed Sheeran's tour becoming the biggest in Australian/NZ history and the Paul McCartney tour."