Music Industry Insights feat. John O’Donnell (EMI Head & Cold Chisel co-manager): Feb 2nd @ AIM Sydney

Music Industry Insights is our exclusive interview series featuring the heavyweights and thought leaders of Australian music. Hosted by music industry veteran and AIM Chair Ed St John, the series is filmed on Tuesday nights at AIM’s Sydney campus before a live audience and live streamed on the AIMTv YouTube channel. In 2021, the deep dive interviews will also be available as a podcast (from February 9th).  


Our first show for 2021 takes place on Tuesday 2nd February. AIM students, alumni and the music industry are invited to attend the live recording at AIM’s Sydney campus. RSVP on Eventbrite here.

Watch the AIM Music Industry Insights YouTube Live Stream here.

John O’Donnell – EMI CEO, Co-Manager Cold Chisel:

Feb 2nd Guest: Music Industry Insights

John O’Donnell is one of the most highly regarded music executives in Australia. After a career in music journalism, as Music Editor at Rolling Stone magazine and Editor of Juice magazine, John joined Sony Music in 1994 and started the internationally successful Murmur label, signing Silverchair, Something For Kate, Jebediah and more.

In 2002, John left Sony to become CEO of EMI Music Australia/NZ, enjoying an unprecedented run of chart and sales success with artists like Empire of the Sun, Silverchair, Angus & Julia Stone, The Finn Brothers, Jet and Missy Higgins. During that time, John was a member of the ARIA Board and also served as the Chairman of PPCA from 2005 – 2008. John left EMI in late 2008 to start his own successful music consulting business.

Since then John has been the co-manager of the legendary Australian band Cold Chisel, working with co-manager John Watson to oversee the band’s record-breaking Australasian tours. In that time, the band has recorded three new albums, the most recent being the ARIA # 1 album Blood Moon in December 2019. In February 2020, the band completed the massive Blood Moon tour of Australia and New Zealand – just a month before COVID-19 shut down all major domestic and international touring.

In 2010 John co-authored the much acclaimed and best-selling book ‘The 100 Best Australian Albums’ and released a CD companion to the book which has gone on to sell over 50,000 copies. The book was updated in 2017 as ‘The 110 Best Australia Albums’.  

In early 2013, John returned to EMI to take over the role of Managing Director of EMI after the company had been purchased by the Universal Music Group. Since that time, EMI has signed Troye Sivan, Paul Kelly, Alison Wonderland, Middle Kids, Cat & Calmell and many more.

In late 2017, John joined the Board of Support Act and has been a tireless campaigner for the great work of Support Act and in particular its primary fund-raiser, AusMusic T-shirt Day.

John’s favourite album of all time changes weekly. This week it is Tonight’s The Night by Neil Young.

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