Warner Music Australia has relaunched Mushroom Records as its imprint for new Australian and New Zealand signings. It marks the third life cycle for the iconic Australian record company.
The newly reprised label will kick off with releases from guitar band Eskimo Joe, hip hop acts Butterfingers and Scribe, and singer Chloe Lattanzi (daughter of Olivia Newton-John). These acts were signed to Festival Mushroom Records, the label’s previous incarnation.
Established in 1972 by music entrepreneur Michael Gudinski, Mushroom Records launched the careers of global chart makers Kylie Minogue, Split Enz and Peter Andre. Gudinski sold it to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in 1998; his own Mushroom Group of music-related companies continued indpendently.
Murdoch merged the label with News Corp.’s own Festival Records, to create Festival Mushroom Records under managing director Michael Parisi. Warner Music Australia bought FMR last October after it recruited Parisi as its A&R president. Parisi will also serve as Mushroom’s managing director.
Warner president/CEO Ed St. John tells Billboard.biz that company executives have yet to decide whether long-time Warner Australia acts the Whitlams, Shihad, Cold Chisel, Evermore and Magic Dirt will eventually cross over to Mushroom.
According to Parisi, “Mushroom has a strong respected brand name internationally”, and it would make it easier for its acts to get attention when shopped globally.
The news of Mushroom’s revival was made by St. John and Parisi at a function in Sydney last night (March 14) at which Warner unveiled upcoming international and domestic releases to retailers and media. Eskimo Joe, the Whitlams and Butterfingers performed.
Gudinski, who was at the function (his Mushroom Group labels, including the frontline Liberation Music imprint, are distributed by Warner) told Billboard.biz, “They should never have merged Mushroom with Festival. They underestimated what it meant to people.”