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Mushroom Records is an Australian record company formed by Michael Gudinski and Ray Evans in 1972. After its sale in 1998, it merged into Festival Mushroom Records. As of 2006 it is one of the record labels operated by Warner Bros. Records. It is currently internationally known as WEA International Inc.


Mushroom Records had its beginnings when Michael Gudinski was managing the band Healing Force who had the single "Golden Miles" released in July 1971. It shot to the top of the charts, but their record company at the time had already stopped producing the record as they didn't have faith in the record, so copies ran out. Gudinski formed Mushroom to make sure that would never happen again.

The label's inaugural release was an ambitious triple LP recording of the 1973 Sunbury Pop Festival, and over the next few years they signed a number of important Australian acts of the period including Madder Lake and Mackenzie Theory. Mushroom struggled to survive for its first two years and reportedly came close to folding on several occasions, but 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 became the biggest-selling Australian LP ever released up to that time. Around the same time, Gudinksi was convinced to sign expatriate New Zealandmarker 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.

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.

Mushroom entered the international scene by setting up an International division in London headed by Korda Marshall of Infectious Records and formerly RCA. The Australian label had some international success before then by signing The Saints, Kylie Minogue, Dannii Minogue and Jason Donovan in the eighties. However the last two were released internationally through PWL. In the 1990s, Mushroom missed out on what could have been one of its biggest signings, and although the label was reportedly in the front-running to sign rising new Australian band Silverchair; the group opted to sign with the Sony label instead.

After selling 49% of the company to News Corporation in 1993, Garbage signed to the label via Marshall's UK operation, followed by Pop Will Eat Itself, Ash 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 AU$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 Corporations's record label Festival Records to form Festival Mushroom Records in 1998, Gudinksi relaunched Liberation Music.

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 $AU10 million.

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

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.

Selective list of Mushroom Records signings

An asterisk (*) denotes an artist/company who no longer records for the label.

See also


  2. "Warner Music Buys Aussie Indie FMR" - Christie Eliezer, All Business, 20 October 2005
  3. "Australia's Mushroom Music Buys Festival Pub." - Christie Eliezer, All Business, 24 November 2005

External links

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