Mo Ostin, the legendary label executive who led Warner Brothers Records through a storied time of both artistic and commercial success for more than 30 years, died in his sleep July 31, at the age of 95.
Ostin, who signed and/or worked with such acts at The Kinks, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, R.E.M., Randy Newman and many more, was “one of the greatest record men of all time, and a prime architect of the modern music business,” said Tom Corson, co-chairman and COO, Warner Records, and Aaron Bay-Schuck, co-chairman and CEO, Warner Records, in a joint statement.
“For Mo, it was always first and foremost about helping artists realize their vision,” their statement continues. “One of the pivotal figures in the evolution of Warner Music Group, in the 1960s Mo ushered Warner/Reprise Records into a golden era of revolutionary, culture-shifting artistry. Over his next three decades at the label, he remained a tireless champion of creative freedom, both for the talent he nurtured and the people who worked for him. Mo lived an extraordinary life doing what he loved, and he will be deeply missed throughout the industry he helped create, and by the countless artists and colleagues whom he inspired to be their best selves. On behalf of everyone at Warner, we want to thank Mo for everything he did, and for his inspiring belief in our bright future. Our condolences go out to his family at this difficult time.”
Max Lousada, CEO of Warner Recorded Music added, “In an era when creative entrepreneurs are revered, we celebrate Mo Ostin as a pioneer who wrote the rulebook for others to follow. Warner Music Group and Warner Records wouldn’t exist without his passion, vision, and intelligence. He not only helped build one of the world’s greatest music companies, but he inspired a culture driven by bravery and ingenuity. Mo saw artists for who they really were and gave them the space and support to fully realize their originality. Our condolences to [Mo’s son] Michael and the whole Ostin family. Mo was a legend, and he will be deeply missed.”
This story first appeared on billboard.com