Justin Cosby, co-founder of Australia’s Inertia Music, dies at 50

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Justin Cosby, co-founder and director of A&R at Inertia Music, one of Australia’s leading independent music companies of the past two decades, passed away last Friday (June 25). He was 50.

Cosby’s death was announced in statement issued Saturday by Inertia, the Sydney-based independent music company, which described the late executive as a “loving partner, dedicated friend” and “inquisitive music lover.”

Cosby’s “inexhaustible, enduring love of music and the relationships he invested in, personal and professional, will be his legacy,” reads the statement.

There are no further details available as to the cause of his death.

As the sad news spread, Australia’s music community turned to social media to remember a top-notch music man with a gentle nature.

“I’m just shocked to hear of the passing of beautiful Justin Cosby,” wrote indie-pop singer and songwriter Holiday Sidewinder. “He signed me when I was 16 and was truly a pleasure to work, a special soul and emotionally intuitive. I’ll never forget him crying at one of my shows because he was so moved…” She continued, “He often popped into my parents house to have a cup of tea and give me new records to listen to. He was one of the good guys in a very lecherous industry, and made me feel safe and respected as a musician. RIP beautiful man.”

Justin was “highly regarded by the Australian Independent community, and his presence will be missed enormously,” reads a message from the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR).

Cosby and Ashley Sellers formed Inertia Music in a living room back in 2000, and built the company into a leading independent record label and distributor, working with the likes of Sia, Ben Lee, Ali Barter and Neil and Liam Finn in addition to internationals including Björk, Odesza, M83 and Ásgeir.

As time moved on, Inertia’s empire grow as it expanded its services to artists and labels across sales, marketing, publicity, touring and merchandise.

Today, the Inertia Group of companies includes live music promoter Handsome Tours, boutique booking agency Collective Artists, publisher GaGa Music, management company IE:Inertia and the annual Fairgrounds Festival, operating with a mission to “empower artists to thrive independently, with honesty, creative thinking and passion.”

In 2017, European indie powerhouse PIAS acquired Inertia Music, and, earlier this year, Inertia Music was rebranded to [PIAS] Australia.

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