Mushroom Records

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Mushroom Records
Mushroom logoAUS.png
Parent company Mushroom Group (1972–1998)
Festival Mushroom Records (1998–2005)
Warner Bros. Records (2005–2010)
Founded1972 (1972)
Founder Michael Gudinski
Ray Evans
Distributor(s)Mushroom Distribution Services
Warner Bros. Records
Rhino Entertainment (re-issues only)
Genre Pop, rock
Country of origin Australia
Location Melbourne
Official website

Mushroom Records was an Australian flagship record label, founded in 1972 in Melbourne. It published and distributed many successful Australian artists and expanded internationally, until it was merged with Festival Records in 1998. Festival Mushroom Records was later acquired by Warner Bros. Records, which operated the label from 2005 to 2010 until it folded to Warner Bros. Records. Founder Michael Gudinski went on to become the leader of the Mushroom Group, the largest independent music and entertainment company in Australia, with divisions such as Frontier Touring. [1]



Mushroom Records was an Australian record label formed by Michael Gudinski and Ray Evans in Melbourne in 1972. After its sale in 1998 along with Mushroom Distribution Services, they merged into Festival Mushroom Records. From 2005 to 2009, it was operated by Warner Bros. Records. Gudinski subsequently expanded a pre-existing label, Liberation Music, to release material by former Mushroom artists. [2]

Its inaugural release was an ambitious triple live album of the 1973 Sunbury Pop Festival, and over the next few years they signed a number of important Australian acts including Madder Lake, Ayers Rock, and MacKenzie Theory. In December 1974, Gudinski flew to the US to promote his recording artists, with Ayers Rock securing a recording contract, and an advance from A&M Records. [3] Ayers Rock were the first Mushroom artist to sign an international recording contract. [3] Mushroom struggled to survive for its first two years and reportedly came close to folding on several occasions. However, the label was dramatically pushed to the forefront of the Australian music scene in early 1975 following the massive success of Skyhooks, whose debut album, Living in the 70's , became the biggest-selling Australian LP ever released up to that time.

Around the same time, Gudinski was convinced to sign expatriate New Zealand band Split Enz, who had recently relocated to Australia. Although they had only moderate success for the first few years, Split Enz scored huge success in 1980 with the release of their album True Colours and the hit single "I Got You", which marked the emergence of Neil Finn. [4]

In 1978, Gudinski started Suicide Records, an alternative Mushroom label, to release Punk music. Its first release was "These Boots Are Made For Walking" (cover version), by The Boys Next Door (

In 1981 Gudinski started White Label Records, an alternative Mushroom label, to release innovative music, with signings such as Hunters & Collectors, Machinations, Painters and Dockers, Kids in the Kitchen and The Stems. [5]

Mushroom entered the international scene by setting up an International division in London headed by Gary Ashley (deceased 2017). The Australian label had some international success before then by signing The Saints, Dannii Minogue, Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan in the eighties. However the last two were released internationally through PWL. In the 1990s, Mushroom was reportedly in the front-running to sign rising new Australian band Silverchair, but the group opted to sign with Sony instead.

After selling 49% of the company to News Corporation in 1993, Garbage signed to the label via Koda Marshall's UK operation, followed by Pop Will Eat Itself, Ash, The Paradise Motel and Peter André.

Gudinski sold the remaining 51% share of the label to News Corporation in 1998 for a sum reported to have been around A$40 million. However, the sale of Australia's last major independent label to a multinational engendered some adverse publicity, with Gudinski controversially claiming that he had sold the label as a protest at the federal government's changes to the regulations governing the parallel importation of recordings.

Gudinski maintained control of most other Mushroom Group companies (including interests in music publishing, film production, band booking, national touring and venue management) and the name Mushroom Records. When Mushroom was merged with News Corporation's record label Festival Records to form Festival Mushroom Records in 1998, Gudinski relaunched Liberation Music. [6]

In October 2005 Festival Mushroom Records was wound up and its trademarks and assets (including its large archive of master recordings) were sold to the Australian division of the Warner Music Group in a deal reported to be worth around A$10 million. [7]

The company's other major asset, Festival Music Publishing, was sold to Gudinski's Mushroom Music a month later for an undisclosed sum. [8]

In December 2009, Gudinski announced that he bought the remaining 50% he did not own from Warner Bros. In 2010, it became fully independent again.

In 2021, Gudinski died in Melbourne at the age of 68. [9] [10]

A&E Records

With the reorganisation into Festival Mushroom Records, a number of international operations and joint ventures were either shut down or sold. In the United Kingdom, the British arm of the company (including Infectious and Perfecto Records) was reorganised as A&E Records and sold on to the Warner Music Group when Korda Marshall took a position within that company.

Mushroom Records artists

Below are all the artists that were on the now non-existent label.[ citation needed ]

Stars (Australian band Stars)

See also

Related Research Articles

Skyhooks were an Australian rock band formed in Melbourne in March 1973 by mainstays Greg Macainsh on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Imants "Freddie" Strauks on drums. They were soon joined by Bob "Bongo" Starkie on guitar and backing vocals, and Red Symons on guitar, vocals and keyboards; Graeme "Shirley" Strachan became lead vocalist in March 1974. Described as a glam rock band, because of flamboyant costumes and make-up, Skyhooks addressed issues including buying drugs in "Carlton ", sex and commitment in "Balwyn Calling", the gay scene in "Toorak Cowboy" and loss of girlfriends in "Somewhere in Sydney" by namechecking Australian locales. According to music historian, Ian McFarlane "[Skyhooks] made an enormous impact on Australian social life".

Dannii Minogue Australian pop singer, songwriter, actress

Danielle Jane Minogue is an Australian singer, songwriter, actress, television personality, and fashion designer. She rose to prominence for her roles on the Australian television talent show Young Talent Time (1982-1988), and on the soap opera Home and Away (1989-1990), before beginning her career as a pop singer in the early 1990s. Minogue achieved early success with her debut studio album, Love and Kisses (1991), which included the singles "Love and Kisses", "This Is It", "Jump to the Beat", and "Success". Following the release of her second studio album, Get into You (1993), Minogue’s popularity as a singer had declined, leading her to make a name for herself with award-winning performances in the musical stage shows Grease (1997) and Notre-Dame de Paris (1999), and other acting credits The Vagina Monologues and Lady Macbeth.

Michael Gudinski Australian entrepreneur, business executive and film producer

Michael Solomon Gudinski AM was an Australian entrepreneur and businessman based in Melbourne who was a leading figure in the Australian music industry. Born and raised in Melbourne to Jewish Russian immigrants, Gudinski was mostly known for forming the highly successful Australian record company Mushroom Records in 1972 through which he signed several generations of Australian musicians and performers ranging from MacKenzie Theory, the Skyhooks, The Choirboys, Kylie Minogue, and New Zealand's Split Enz to newer artists such as Eskimo Joe, Evermore and others, forging a string of successful releases by local artists.

A&E Records is a United Kingdom-based record label imprint, owned by Warner Music Group (WMG). It operates under the WEA International group of labels at WMG.

Festival Records

Festival Records was an Australian recording and publishing company founded in Sydney, Australia, in 1952 and operated until 2005.

Sunbury Pop Festival or Sunbury Rock Festival was an annual Australian rock music festival held on a 620-acre (2.5 km2) private farm between Sunbury and Diggers Rest, Victoria, which was staged on the Australia Day long weekend from 1972 to 1975. It attracted up to 45,000 patrons and was promoted by Odessa Promotions, which was formed by a group of television professionals, including John Fowler, from GTV 9 Melbourne.

The trend of Australian music have often mirrored those of the United States and United Kingdom. Australian Aboriginal music during the prehistory of Australia is not well documented; this timeline will concentrate on the time since radio began broadcasting in Australia (1923).

Dannii Minogue discography

Australian singer Dannii Minogue has released five studio albums, eight compilation albums, twenty-eight singles, twenty-three music videos, and five video albums. Minogue rose to prominence in the early 1980s for her roles in the Australian television talent show Young Talent Time and in the soap opera Home and Away, before commencing her career as a pop singer in the early 1990s.

Infectious Music is an independent record label owned by BMG, whose bands have included Alt-J, Ash and The Subways.

<i>Mushroom 25 Live</i> 1998 live album by Various artists

Mushroom 25 Live is a live album, video and DVD by various Australian musicians and was recorded at the Mushroom 25 Concert held on Saturday 14 November 1998, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. From the early afternoon until late at night for the nine-hour concert, 56 acts, including many of the biggest names in Australian music, performed their hits to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mushroom Records, which was organised by its owner, Michael Gudinski. The concert featured former Cold Chisel singer Jimmy Barnes guesting with INXS on "The Loved One" and "Good Times" in tribute of Michael Hutchence for their first public performance since his death in November 1997.

Liberation Music Australian record label

Liberation Music is an Australian record company and label, started in 1999 by Michael Gudinski and Warren Costello, based in Melbourne. Its stated aim is to find, nurture and then to develop new talent for a world market while remaining independent in the process.

<i>Unleashed</i> (Dannii Minogue album)

Unleashed is a compilation album by Australian dance-pop singer Dannii Minogue. It was released by Rhino Entertainment and Warner Music UK on 5 November 2007. As this was a budget release compilation, it was ineligible for the UK Albums chart.

Ayers Rock (band) Australian rock band

Ayers Rock were an Australian rock band which formed in August 1973. Ray Burton, Mark Kennedy (drums), and Duncan McGuire (bass), members of Leo de Castro and Friends, left to form the eponymous trio of Burton, McGuire & Kennedy. They added a guitarist, Jimmy Doyle, changed their name to Ayers Rock and invited Col Loughnan to join. The group signed with independent label Mushroom Records in December 1973. Burton left the following March, and was replaced by Chris Brown. With live appearances, coverage in print media and word of mouth the group had a high national profile despite little radio airplay, and journalists praised their musicianship, music, and live energy.

Roger Grierson is a New Zealand born musician and music industry executive.

Madder Lake are an Australian progressive rock band formed in Melbourne in 1968 as San Sebastian. They were one of the first bands signed to the Michael Gudinski co-owned Mushroom Records which released their debut single, "Goodbye Lollipop" in February 1973, followed by the album Stillpoint in August. This contained their most recognisable single, "12lb Toothbrush". Their second album Butterfly Farm was released in April 1974, they left Mushroom after their last single, "I Get High" appeared in July 1976. A compilation album The Best of Madder Lake was released by Mushroom Records in 1978.

<i>Mushroom Evolution Concert</i> 1982 live album by Various artists

Mushroom Evolution Concert is a live album and video recorded by various Australian artists at celebratory performances held over two days of the Australia Day weekend 1982. The Mushroom Evolution Concert was staged for Mushroom Records' tenth anniversary at the Myer Music Bowl and was organised by label boss, Michael Gudinski. It included a wide range of Australian performers from the label's roster. An estimated audience of 100,000 attended the concerts. In late 1972 Gudinski had been an artist manager and concert promoter when he and business partner, Ray Evans, founded Mushroom Records. The concert was recorded both for audio as a triple-LP and for video on double-VHS and released in 1982 under the same name. Subsequently, these were re-released on 2× CD (2005) and on 3× DVD respectively. Although a prominent Mushroom Records artist from the 1972–1981 era, Skyhooks did not appear at the concert – they had disbanded in 1980.

Frontier Touring Company

The Frontier Touring Company is one of Australia and New Zealand's largest concert promoters. The company was formed in November 1979 by Michael Gudinski as one of the first Mushroom Group ventures, with eight music industry partners; Gudinski has stayed at the helm since. The company's first tour was in 1980 and in the decades since has toured over five hundred acts. In 2013 according to Pollstar, the industry's trade publication, the company was listed as No. 1 Australasian Concert Promoter and at No. 20, internationally.

Mushroom Group

Mushroom Group is the largest independent music and entertainment company in Australia. It comprises more than two dozen companies. It has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, and Auckland with over 200 employees.

Independent record label Type of record label

An independent record label is a record label that operates without the funding of major record labels; they are a type of small to medium-sized enterprise, or SME. The labels and artists are often represented by trade associations in their country or region, which in turn are represented by the international trade body, the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN).


  2. McFarlane, 'Independent record labels' entry. Archived from the original on 28 August 2004. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  3. 1 2 Eliezer, Christie (14 February 1998). "Michael Gudinski Interview". Billboard : 50. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  4. "Mushroom Records Pty. Ltd" . Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  5. "DRUM ROLL PLEASE…..MUSHROOM TURNS 40!". Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  6. "australian music business – an analysis of the aria charts, 1988-2011 – part 2". Peter Tschmuck. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  7. "Warner Music Buys Aussie Indie FMR" – Christie Eliezer, All Business, 20 October 2005
  8. "Australia's Mushroom Music Buys Festival Pub." – Christie Eliezer, All Business, 24 November 2005