After being founded in 2000, Kobalt Music Group revolutionized the technological nature of the modern music business.
The company, founded by its Chairman, Swedish exec Willard Ahdritz, built its reputation in the world of music publishing, with flagship early signings including the likes of Max Martin and Sir Paul McCartney (via McCartney’s MPL), both of whom remain clients to this day.
Kobalt’s ethos, globally, is to allow musical creators to continue owning their copyrights even after they sign to the company.
Today, it operates in a number of verticals including Kobalt Music Publishing, Kobalt Neighbouring Rights (KNR) and AWAL – the company’s distribution and artist/label services division.
Clients of AWAL include / have included the likes of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Little Simz, R3hab and label partners like Glassnote Records.
In 2014, Kobalt acquired the American Mechanical Rights Agency, which it re-launched as AMRA in 2015 as a separately-run global royalty collection society for its clients and its fellow publishers.
In addition to these divisions, Kobalt Music Group also handles the administration of copyrights acquired by two royalty funds that are managed by Kobalt Capital Ltd.
Using those funds, Kobalt Capital Ltd acquired SONGS Music Publishing from founder Matt Pincus for approximately $160m in December 2017.
In FY2019, the 12 months to end of June 2019, Kobalt posted $543.4m in revenues, up 35.1% year-on-year.
In terms of ‘gross collections’ – which factor in gross neighbouring rights revenues, rather than slimming them down to net – Kobalt says its total sales last year hit $616m, up 25% YoY.
In January 2020, Kobalt announced that its founder and then-CEO, Willard Ahdritz, was becoming Chairman of the company, with ex-BMG exec, Laurent Hubert, succeeding him as Chief Executive. Music Business Worldwide