Michael McMartin: celebrated Australian manager known for his work with Hoodoo Gurus, dies aged 79

Michael McMartin, the managerial mind behind the success of the Australian group Hoodoo Gurus, has died aged 79 his family have confirmed

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Michael McMartin, the Canadian-born music manager who guided celebrated Australian act Hoodoo Gurus for over 40 years, has died at the age of 79 following a lengthy illness on Sunday evening (March 31 2024). 

A statement from his family explained “Michael had been undergoing treatment for cancer for a number of years but, despite the best efforts of his medical team, he succumbed to his illness peacefully around noon on Easter Sunday, surrounded by his beloved family,”

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McMartin was born on March 12, 1945, on Vancouver Island. He obtained his BA in Political Science from Loyola College in Montreal before moving to Australia in 1971. A few years later, he partnered with producer Charles Fisher to establish Trafalgar Records, an independent recording and publishing company.

In 1985, Melody Management was established by McMartin whose first clients were the Hoodoo Gurus. The manager signed them to their first record deal in 1982 and started managing them three years later, in 1985. This partnership lasted for decades and resulted in the Gurus being inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2009. Unfortunately, due to ill health, McMartin announced in February 2024 that he would be stepping down from his role as their manager.

“I really can’t find the words to express my feelings at this time but respect, love and gratitude would be among them,” he wrote in a message distributed Feb. 22, announcing his decision to hand over Gurus duties to Mick Mazzone of Mighty Management. “Thanks to the Hoodoo Gurus I have lived a life that I only otherwise could have dreamt of.”

McMartin played a crucial role in the establishment of the Music Managers’ Forum in Australia. He went on to serve as the chairman and later as the executive director of the International Music Managers’ Forum (IMMF), which is an umbrella organisation for managers from 24 different countries. 

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The IMMF has NGO status at WIPO, which is a United Nations agency that deals with copyright issues across the globe. McMartin was also a dedicated board member of Support Act, which is a music industry charity that provides support to those in need, for almost two decades.

McMartin is survived by his wife, Saskia, and his son, Hamish and his extended family, including Michael’s two grandchildren, Kiara and Koby.

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