Industry Legend Michael McMartin Passes Away

1 April 2024 | 5:28 pm | Stephen Green

Hoodoo Gurus long-time manager Michael McMartin has passed away after a long cancer battle.

Michael McMartin

Michael McMartin (Jess Gleeson)

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Industry legend and pioneer in Australian music management Michael McMartin has passed away peacefully on Easter Sunday after a battle with cancer. In a statement, his family said:

The McMartin family is very sad to announce the death of Michael McMartin yesterday, on Easter Sunday. Michael had been undergoing treatment for cancer for a number of years but, despite the best efforts of his medical team, he succumbed to his illness peacefully around noon on Easter Sunday, surrounded by his beloved family. Michael is survived by his wife, Saskia, and his son, Hamish and his extended family, including Michael's two grandchildren, Kiara and Koby. Michael’s entire family would like to express their gratitude to Michael’s doctors and, in particular, to the staff at the Karinya Palliative Care Unit of David Berry Hospital, Berry NSW. They have all been simply amazing and Michael could not have been in better - or kinder - hands.

There will be a private family funeral held in the coming days and, a little later, an announcement of a public gathering to be held in Sydney to celebrate Michael’s life and legacy. This latter event will be open to all of Michael’s many friends and music industry acquaintances.

McMartin announced in February that he was stepping down as the Hoodoo Gurus manager after an unparalleled 41 years. At the time, McMartin said:

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“What a unique and extraordinary life I have been gifted, working with the Hoodoo Gurus and sharing in so many of the experiences that have made them such an iconic part of Australian culture.

“Through my 40-plus years with them, I have had the privilege of meeting so many incredible people throughout the world, including their fans, peers and the Gurus’ family. I really can’t find the words to express my feelings at this time, but respect, love, and gratitude would be among them. Thanks to the Hoodoo Gurus I have lived a life that I only otherwise could have dreamt of.”

In 2023, McMartin was presented with the Association of Artist Managers (AAM) Legacy Award and gave an amazing speech that still resonates with managers across Australia today. You can read the speech in full here.

Michael McMartin was born on Vancouver Island in Canada on 12 March 1945 and less than two weeks ago, he celebrated his 79th birthday in hospital. Michael gained his BA (Political Science) at Loyola College in Montreal. He moved to Australia in 1971, and within a few years, Michael and producer Charles Fisher started Trafalgar Records, an iconic independent recording and publishing entity.

Michael was a founding member of the Music Managers’ Forum in Australia, he also served as Chairman and then Executive Director of the International Music Managers’ Forum (IMMF), the umbrella organisation for managers from some 24 countries which has NGO status at WIPO, the United Nations agency dealing with worldwide copyright issues.

Over the years, he has been invited to work with the music industries in China and Egypt, has spoken at many international events and forums in Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, Tunisia, and Brazil, and has attended countless local forums in Australia. For 19 years, he was a board member of Support Act, a music industry benevolent organisation.

Michael received the 2007 APRA Ted Albert Award for his lifetime contribution to Australian Music and was elected to the ARIA Hall of Fame as part of the induction of the Hoodoo Gurus in 2009. In 2015 he was awarded the Medal of the Order Of Australia (OAM) for ‘services to the performing arts, especially music.’