Fear At The Top co-hosts Luke Girgis and Poppy Reid chat to Frontier Touring COO Susan Heymann and Michael Chugg, Executive Chairman, Chugg Entertainment.

Susan started her career in Australia’s music industry like many of us, doing work experience and taking on part-time jobs at places like Michael Chugg Entertainment, EMI Music Australia and our very own Brag Media title The Music Network.

At Chugg Entertainment, she worked her way up from Assistant to the General Manager to Managing Director in 2016, overseeing a team of 20 staff, managing partnerships and promoting some of the biggest tours in the world like Sia, Radiohead, Coldplay, Robbie Williams, Dolly Parton, Pearl Jam, Florence + The Machine, Tame Impala, among many others.

Then in April 2019, Chugg Entertainment entered into an exclusive joint venture arrangement with Mushroom Group, and Mushroom’s promoter arm Frontier simultaneously announced a partnership with global giant AEG Presents. These new strategic partnerships saw Susan working closely with the late icon Michael Gudinski on televised concert and record release Music From The Home Front for COVID-19 frontline workers, plus the weekly live-streamed series The State Of Music and The Sound the hour-long live performance show on prime-time TV.

In March this year, Susan moved into the even bigger role of COO of Frontier, overseeing artist relations, creative and content development for the business as well as overseeing Chugg Entertainment tours. 

Michael Chugg and Susan Heymann
Michael Chugg and Susan Heymann. Photograph by Ian Laidlaw

Michael Chugg is known as a pioneer of the Australian music industry. His name is synonymous with some of the biggest music moments from the past 57 years.

After co-founding the Frontier Touring Company with Gudinski in 1979, he went on to launch Chugg Entertainment in 2000 and has picked up numerous industry accolades across his career, including the prestigious ARIA Icon Award in 2019, a Member of the Order of Australia, and Pollstar’s International Promoter of the Year, which he’s won four times. 

His philanthropic undertakings are also very substantial. He’s raised millions of dollars for charities through initiatives such as Wave Aid, Live Earth, and Sound Relief.

His record label and management company Chugg Music, launched in 2012 has been consistently seeing huge success. Multi-Platinum Brisbane band Sheppard have charted in 15  countries. Lime Cordiale were the most-nominated act at the 2020 ARIA Awards, Casey Barnes seems to be a mainstay in the Australian Country Charts and the Shazam chart too.

Susan Heymann and Michael Chugg
Susan Heymann and Michael Chugg at The Brag Media in Sydney

In this wide-ranging and illuminating Fear At The Top episode, Heymann and Chugg discuss their thoughts on unpaid internships, the challenges the touring sector faces post-COVID, the conversation that led to the Mushroom/Chugg JV, what Chugg told the Mushroom staff at Gudinski’s funeral, the lesson Chugg learned off of Paul Dainty, and much more.

Watch the full Fear at the Top episode with Susan Heymann and Michael Chugg below:

Stream this podcast episode here.

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