The Australian music industry has bid farewell to a foundational figure, Michael McMartin, who passed away at the age of 79 on Easter Sunday, March 31st, following a lengthy battle with cancer.

McMartin, a Canada-born entrepreneur, was a pivotal force in establishing a professional music management community in Australia and was best known for his four-decade-long stewardship of the iconic band Hoodoo Gurus.

Despite “the best efforts of his medical team,” a statement read, “McMartin succumbed to his illness peacefully around noon” over the weekend.

Born on Vancouver Island on March 12th, 1945, McMartin’s journey in the music industry took off after he relocated to Australia in 1971. He co-founded Trafalgar Records with producer Charles Fisher, a label that became home to a diverse array of artists.

His first clients for his company Melody Management were the Hoodoo Gurus, a band he signed to their first record deal in 1982.

From 1985 onwards, McMartin managed the band, a partnership that saw them inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2007. This relationship lasted until February of this year when McMartin, due to his ill health, handed over his duties to Mick Mazzone of Mighty Management.

McMartin’s impact extended beyond artist management. He was a founding member of the Music Managers’ Forum in Australia and took on roles as chairman and executive director of the International Music Managers’ Forum (IMMF). He also dedicated 19 years as a board member of Support Act, a charity supporting music industry professionals.

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His contributions were recognised with some of the highest honours in the Australian music industry. In 2007, McMartin received the APRA Ted Albert Award for his lifetime contribution to Australian Music, and in 2015, he was awarded the Medal of the Order Of Australia (OAM) for his service to the performing arts, particularly music.

McMartin is survived by his wife Saskia, his son Hamish, and his extended family, which  includes two grandchildren. He leaves behind an indelible legacy, having shaped the landscape of music management in Australia.

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