Universal’s Virgin Music strikes global partnership with Australia’s Mushroom Group

Universal Music Group’s Virgin Music Label & Artist Services (VLMAS) division has entered into a global partnership with Australia’s largest independent label group, Mushroom, to support and distribute Mushroom artists’ releases worldwide, outside of Australia and New Zealand.

The Mushroom label division remains 100% independently owned and its established ANZ operations will remain unchanged as a result of the partnership.

Mushroom will continue to digitally distribute itself in ANZ, as Merlin members, and continues its long standing physical distribution partnership with Universal Music Australia.

Under the terms of the agreement, VLMAS will provide global promotion, marketing and audience label services to Mushroom’s existing US and UK infrastructure.

In addition, according to Mushroom, “in order to fully leverage UMG’s global infrastructure and support,” selected Mushroom artists’ releases will be issued through UMG’s major label network, when agreed by both parties.

To co-lead the Mushroom Label divisions global operations, Mushroom has appointed highly respected UK music executive Korda Marshall as International Director.

Based in London, Marshall moves from BMG, which purchased Infectious Records in 2014 and enjoyed global success with the likes of alt-J, DMA’S, Bloc Party, Ry-X, Richard Ashcroft and The Temper Trap.

Marshall held the MD position at Mushroom Records prior to its sale to News Corp in 1998, where he was instrumental in the success of Muse, Garbage, Ash and Paul Oakenfold.

The Mushroom Group was founded by the late Australian music industry icon Michael Gudinski, and is now led by his son Matt.

To kickstart the new partnership, Mushroom has revealed that its next releases will be from DMA’S (following their No.4 UK, No.2 Australian and No.1 Scottish album The Glow), Spotify global radar artist merci, mercy, “buzz acts” Mia Wray, and Radio 1-backed artist Yen Strange.

The first UK signing by Marshall is joshua epithet, with Mushroom’s full release schedule to be revealed in the coming months.


Universal Music Group launched Virgin Music Label & Artist Services in January 2021 as a global division serving independent artists and labels that UMG says is “inspired and influenced by the spirit and ethos of the iconic Virgin Records label”.

The move saw US-based Caroline – the independent services division of UMG-owned Capitol Music Group – as well as Caroline operations in the UK, France and Germany renamed as Virgin Music Label & Artist Services.

Since its launch in January 2021, VMLAS has opened divisions in the US, Japan, UK, Germany and across Central Europe, France, Australia & New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Western Balkans, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Portugal . It says that further markets will launch in the coming months.

“I’m so happy to be returning to the Mushroom Group, it feels like coming home after a long and winding road trip around the music business and I look forward to working with all the Labels and their amazing artists.”

Korda Marshall

Of the partnership, Marshall said: “I’m so happy to be returning to the Mushroom Group, it feels like coming home after a long and winding road trip around the music business and I look forward to working with all the Labels and their amazing artists.

“Our new deal with Universal provides a fantastic opportunity to work closely with one of the finest music companies in the World.

‘Lucian, David and the Virgin teams led by Vanessa, Jim, Jacqueline and Matt have all been very impressive and together we can become a real alternative home for great talent and creative ideas ”.

“Mushroom has been a market leader for decades in Australia and today we are taking another huge step in building Mushroom into a truly global brand.”

Matt Gudinski, Mushroom

Mushroom’s Chief Executive, Matt Gudinski, said: “Mushroom has been a market leader for decades in Australia and today we are taking another huge step in building Mushroom into a truly global brand.

“Our A&R staff are world class and we, together with Virgin / UMG, are going to break artists from any part of the globe to every part of the globe.

“Lucian, David and the Virgin team are better placed than any other music company to help us deliver on our ambition and we are ecstatic to form this partnership.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with Matt Gudinski, who is honoring his father’s great legacy by bringing Mushroom to new heights, and with Korda who has been a force in the UK creative community for decades.”

Sir Lucian Grainge, Universal Music Group

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group, said: “This global alliance between Mushroom and Virgin Music, marks the beginning of a new collaboration between two historically entrepreneurial companies that have both introduced countless superstar artists and helped shape and influence independent music for decades.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Matt Gudinski, who is honoring his father’s great legacy by bringing Mushroom to new heights, and with Korda who has been a force in the UK creative community for decades.”

“We felt musically and culturally aligned with Virgin / UMG from our first meetings and we can not wait to get stuck in.

Chris Maund, Mushroom Label

Mushroom Label’s COO, Chris Maund, said: “With Mushroom Labels unique mix of niche alternative artists through to those dominating charts, this partnership with Virgin / Universal gives us the flexibility and range to deliver results across the board.

“We felt musically and culturally aligned with Virgin / UMG from our first meetings and we can not wait to get stuck in.”

“Virgin Music and Mushroom are two labels with entrepreneurship and innovation at their heart.”

David Joseph, Universal Music UK

David Joseph, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music UK said: “Virgin Music and Mushroom are two labels with entrepreneurship and innovation at their heart.

“This is a natural partnership bringing together two exceptional teams who are aligned on a very simple ethos: delivering choice and a best in class service for artists and their businesses on a truly global scale.”

“VMLAS ‘global network offers Mushroom’s labels a new way to plug in to the world and reach more music fans than ever before.”

Vanessa Bosåen, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services

Vanessa Bosåen, MD, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services UK, said: “Mushroom Group has long been admired as an exceptional home for artists and Virgin Music is absolutely thrilled to be in partnership with such a strong line-up of labels.

VMLAS ‘global network offers Mushroom’s labels a new way to plug in to the world and reach more music fans than ever before.

“We’ll be working together across time zones, genres and borders to build the future of how independent labels can operate on a global stage.”

Music Business Worldwide

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