EXCLUSIVE: Inertia CEO Says [PIAS] Deal Will Increase Local Artist Exposure 'Tenfold'

24 January 2017 | 12:39 pm | Mitch Knox

"[PIAS] ... has relationships with many Australian artists. It's a natural fit."

The chief executive of Inertia Music, Colin Daniels, has opened up on the mutual benefits that await the Australian label and its new strategic partner, [PIAS].

In an exclusive interview with The Music, Daniels explained that the new deal is the result of a lengthy relationship between the companies, coming to fruition as a result of a strong connection with [PIAS] founders Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot over their shared belief in independent music.

"We've known [PIAS] founders Kenny and Michel for many years, we have always connected on a passion for independent music," Daniels told The Music of the gestation of the new arrangement. "Both companies have a similar approach to the industry so it feels very natural to be part of [PIAS] family, but the plans to work together have only been a recent discussion."

Further strengthening the advantages of joining forces with [PIAS], Daniels says, is the fact that "many of the international labels we distribute (such as XL, 4AD, Secretly Canadian, Ninja Tune etc) have long-standing distribution deals with [PIAS] in multiple countries around the world".

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"[PIAS] also has relationships with many Australian artists," he explained. "It’s a natural fit."

Taking effect from 1 April, Inertia will assume representation of [PIAS]'s artist and label roster in Australia, while the local indie and its esteemed cabal of artists will gain access to [PIAS]'s existing, expansive network.

Together, the companies plan to "make a true difference for the independent community in Australia and New Zealand" in myriad ways.

"[PIAS] has an incredible online analytics portal," Daniels elaborated. "Our managers, labels and staff will be able to access real time reporting on all physical and digital activity in any country where we work together.

"Imagine being able to see how much vinyl you sold yesterday in France or what playlists you’re being streamed on right now in Sweden. Our capacity to help independent artists take their music to world has increased tenfold."

Those aren't the only advantages that await the teams, either, with Daniels offering a laundry list of boons that arise from the agreement, including: "Partnering with an international network of like-minded independent labels; knowing that Inertia Music will always be independent; cheaper manufacturing costs and faster vinyl delivery (the No. 1 request from our Australian artists!); a dynamic approach to our deals that enable artists to operate on a global scale immediately with a company with internationally renowned resources; and a seat at the table for Inertia Music on a global scale."

In return, of course, [PIAS] gains access to the "world-class Inertia team", in Daniels' terms.

"They are the best bunch of passionate, hard-working and knowledgeable music people I've ever worked with," he said.

According to Daniels, Inertia's desire to seek a new partner arose from those ever-present global environmental and business factors, as well as a drive to keep the company independent in both spirit and practice (which he says was "paramount" to the decision).

"The industry is global and a key strength of any label is its ability to operate in multiple countries," Daniels told The Music. "It's been our plan to ensure we can provide a worldwide solution (when needed) for our Australian labels and artists. Partnering with [PIAS] also means Inertia can remain, always, an independent label."

There is clearly a great deal of mutual respect and care underwriting the transition: there will be no changes to staff, Daniels said, nor are there any similar planned changes in the wings for wider Inertia Group members such as Gaga Music, Handsome Tours, Collective Artists and Fairgrounds Festival.

"We are not looking into any changes for the remainder of the Inertia Group," Daniels confirmed, explaining that those companies are "exciting, growing businesses that are run by exceptionally talented partners".

Indeed, among such an atmosphere of change, it's reassuring to know there are some elements of the status quo that will remain — most importantly, Daniels says, Inertia will continue to pursue its passion for breaking Australian artists around the world, while maintaining "business as usual".

"Our staff, labels and friends need to know that nothing changes except for the operational systems we'll implement," he said.

The company's current artist roster includes Ali Barter, Angel Olsen, Baauer, Bec Sandridge, Big Scary, The Delta Riggs, Elizabeth Rose, GL, Hockey Dad, Japanese Wallpaper, KUČKA, Sia and Tigertown, among others.