Michael Gudinski interview: Mushroom’s new creative agency + Glastonbury 2017

Michael Gudinski

““Mushroom tries to keep things in-house in general”

Although the Mushroom Group of companies are plentiful (20+ brands with 200+ staff in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland), founder and chief executive Michael Gudinski has room for one more.

The music industry legend with a seemingly never-ending supply of energy was talking to Mediaweek about the launch of the new Mushroom Creative House agency (MCH).

Gudinski never stands still for very long and he started our discussion with a report on his recent visit to Britain’s Glastonbury festival. He went armed with gumboots, but fine weather meant he didn’t need them. He managed to stay in a teepee on site one night and saw what he calls the best Foo Fighters gig ever. He was also effusive about Ed Sheeran who headlined Sunday, while he told Mediaweek, “Barry Gibb just fucking killed it.”

He was also on hand for Jeremy Corbyn’s Saturday appearance. “He was greeted as if he’d won the election,” said Gudinski.

Being a promoter seems to be the role he enjoys most and he also spent time in London during his UK trip at the Hyde Park concerts that featured The Killers and another with Tom Petty with a guest spot from Stevie Nicks. The response from fans for The Killers was good news to Gudinski who has booked the Las Vegas band for the AFL Grand Final in September.

“Tom Petty didn’t play my favourite song – ‘Breakdown’ – I was shattered!” [Laughs]

Talking about the new MCH, Gudinski noted the business was an obvious next step considering Mushroom had always been a creative house.

“When my son Matt got more involved in the business a few years ago I got him to bring in half a dozen people who were under 25 and most of them have just been superstars. Some of them are involved in Mushroom Creative House.

“Mushroom tries to keep things in-house in general. We occasionally use outside people if needed, but we like to keep it internal.

“There has been a massive change over the past few years with advertising agencies filling different roles for different clients. From our point of view there is such an interest in all kinds of music. Lots of people don’t know how to get access to the best music and how to deal with it properly, whether it be something as simple as copyright clearances, which we have done all our lives, or all-in rights.

“I have seen some pretty big mismatches with artists and brands. It is no longer days of just sponsorship, rather it’s more about working with people who are likeminded.

“Our resources enable us to take on a whole project, which might include staging something like we did with Ed Sheeran at Hanging Rock, which got worldwide publicity. People are really looking at ways for promoting things in-sync. The closer you can get to the artist the better. Some brands might have to go through five different people to get to their end result.

“One thing we have built over the years is credibility and we have big, small and medium artists, Australian artists or international artists.

“It made sense for us to take the next step. We have been doing it for a while. But launching Mushroom Creative House is making a statement and is a natural progression for us.

“We perhaps should have done it a few years ago.”

This is an excerpt of the full article, which appears in the latest issue of Mediaweek magazine. 

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