At an invite-only industry event last night, the Mushroom Group announced a “repositioning” of many of the 20 companies that come under its considerable music umbrella, presenting a rebranding and new united presence – including a swish new logo – and more than a few shakes and moves among the veteran company.

Amidst live sets from some of the Mushroom Group’s finest, including The Rubens, British India, Snakadaktal, Club Feet, Owl Eyes, and newer signees to the Mushroom family such as City Calm Down and Vance Joy, Michael Gudinski announced the company’s plans for rebranding and restructuring.

The biggest change of which is elevating his son Matt Gudinski to the role Executive Director. The promotion of Gudinski Jr., who co-founded the Artist Voice agency and Illusive Sounds label, sees him taking on increased responsibility at the Mushroom Group behind his father and Executive Chairman Michael Gudinski.

“After 40 years in the business I cannot express how proud I am of what the Mushroom Group is today and that my son Matt has stepped up into the role of Executive Director,” said Gudinski at the event.

“Times have been tough for the music industry in general but the diversity of Mushroom and the quality of the artists we work with has ensured our position as Australia and New Zealand’s leading independent entertainment group. I can’t wait to see where the next decade takes us.”
“Times have been tough for the music industry in general but the diversity of Mushroom and the quality of the artists we work with has ensured.” – Michael Gudinski

The evening also included a tribute to the history of the Mushroom Group, which celebrates its 40th birthday this year, with a montage of old footage, while Gudinski emphasised the way it has led the market in Australia, such as developing the ‘360 degree deal’ model that has become the industry standard.

The shape and direction of the company in the years to come will see it expanding and developing in other ways, promised Gudinski, also noting that if he hadn’t yet achieved his life-long dream of obtaining an American #1 record, his son would.

Speaking of the Mushroom rebrand, Matt Gudinski said, “the sale of our perhaps most publicly known company, Mushroom Records, back in the late ‘90s led to some confusion around the Mushroom brand, despite the fact that the Mushroom Group and its subsidiaries and is now in a better position than ever before.”

“Today’s announcement is about reconnecting the power of the Mushroom brand and its many associated companies with both the public and the industry,” he added.

Matt Gudinski’s promotion does not – as some rumours had thought – mean that his father is ‘handing over’ the company in order to retire, and he was quoted with some fiery prose to that effect, saying “If anyone asks if I’m retiring tonight you can tell them to fuck off.”

The other news of the night was the signing of Dan Sultan to the Mushroom Group and a surprise set from zeitgeist-ensnaring British quartet Alt-J, who closed the evening with their mathematical grooves and a setlist containing ‘Tesselate’, ‘Breezeblocks’, and ‘Something Good’. It was the band’s only Melbourne performance outside of last Sunday’s Laneway festival, and their only sideshow is the recently announced “intimate” performance at Sydney’s Metro tonight.

Mushroom’s rebranding strategy and design was conceived by the Melbourne-based Studio Round, who have previously handled creative direction and design for National Gallery of Victoria, State Library of Victoria, Cumulus Inc., Gingerboy, Koko Black and more. Their newly-designed mushroom logo will provide a universal stamp for the brand moving forward, acting as icon for the group and its 20+ subsidies.

The subsidiaries of the new look Mushroom Group remains a familiar list of powerhouse names, including Illusive, I Oh You, Ivy League, Liberation, Liberator and Wunderkind. Also booking agencies Artist Voice, Premier Artists, and Harbour Agency, merchandise companies Drawing Board and Love Police ATM, venues Pretty Please, and Trak Live, as well as Mushroom Music Publishing, Mushroom Creative, Mushroom Marketing, Mushroom Pictures, Frontier Events, and Frontier Touring.

Tonight in Melbourne see the kick off of Mushroom Free For All, a free event featuring live performances from Adalita, Bleeding Knees Club, DZ Deathrays, Owl Eyes, Stonefield, SURES and World’s End Press, all taking to the stage at Melbourne’s Thousand £ Bend tonight.

The only way of obtaining tickets to the 18+ event was by entering a ballot system on Mushroom’s new Facebook page, which closed last night, with winners being notified of their double pass to the free concert. It’s expected that similar free events featuring Mushroom Group bands will be announced in the coming weeks to help celebrate the company’s 40th birthday.

You can view the ‘Mushroom 2013 Sizzle Reel’ below:

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