Tuesday, August 2, 2022

R.I.P.: Mo Ostin, Legendary Music Executive

Mo Ostin (March 27, 1927 – July 31, 2022)

Mo Ostin, the influential music executive who led Warner Bros. Records for decades and helped launch some of the biggest artists in the industry, has died. 

He was 95, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Ostin died in his sleep on Sunday, according to Warner Records Chief Executive Aaron Bay-Schuck and Chief Operating Officer Tom Corson. 

“Mo was one of the greatest record men of all time, and a prime architect of the modern music business,” the music executives said in a joint statement.

Ostin began working for Verve Records when he was in his 20s, according to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

He was chosen by Frank Sinatra to head the singer’s Reprise label, which joined forces with Warner Bros. Records in 1963. Mr. Ostin headed the new company as it signed such acts as Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Madonna, U2, Van Morrison, R.E.M., and Tom Petty and the Sex Pistols, among others. 

When Mr. Ostin left in the 1990s, Warner Music was far and away the top company among its big music peers, with 21.38% of the current-album market share, according to industry tracking firm SoundScan Inc. 

Warner Recorded Music CEO Max Lousada said the label wouldn’t exist without Mr. Ostin’s vision and passion. “He not only helped build one of the world’s greatest music companies, but he inspired a culture driven by bravery and ingenuity,” Mr. Lousada said. “Mo saw artists for who they really were and gave them the space and support to fully realize their originality.”

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