Google Ventures pumps funds into Kobalt, leads $60m investment round

Music publishing and rights company Kobalt has raised US $60 million in a funding round from parties including Google Ventures.

GV’s fellow investors contributing to the new funding include MSD Capital, L.P., the private investment firm for Michael S. Dell and his family, which is a current Kobalt investor, and MSDC Management, L.P.

The financing adds to the $66m previously raised by Kobalt, which said Google Ventures’ investment would partly be used to further develop and scale its technology team around the world.

Kobalt, which operates in publishing, label services and neighbouring rights, says it has experienced revenue growth of 40% every year through the past decade.

It now serves over 8,000+ songwriters and over 500 publishing companies worldwide, with clients including Beck, Dr. Luke, Foo Fighters, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, Max Martin, Paul McCartney, Pitbull, Ryan Tedder, Sam Smith, Skrillex, and others.

“We take great pride in the fact that Google Ventures and MSD Capital both share our vision of technology and transparency working together to create a new industry structure in today’s complex digital world,” said Willard Ahdritz, Kobalt founder and CEO.

“We are relentless in our mission to increase trust between the music and technology industries in order to build a new infrastructure that benefits fans, creators, rights owners and DSPs, all together.”

“Kobalt will be instrumental in shaping the music’s industry’s future. It is one of the most innovative companies in media.”

Bill Maris, Google Ventures

“The music industry is going through dynamic changes all around the world and Kobalt will be instrumental in shaping its future positively for all constituents, starting with artists,” said Bill Maris, Managing Partner at Google Ventures.

“The company’s solid execution over the past decade coupled with Willard’s unwavering passion and commitment made this an attractive investment for us. Kobalt’s commitment to trust, transparency and technology has positioned it as one of the most innovative brands in media today.”

“In the past year since we closed our initial investment into Kobalt, we have been extremely impressed by the leadership team and with the pace of innovation that Kobalt has been driving in its service offerings,” said David Caro, a Director at MSD Capital and a Kobalt board member.

“The migration to a global, digital business model in the music industry is accelerating, and Kobalt’s rights licensing, royalty reporting, collection and payment platforms are leading the way in assisting and enabling that transformation.”

“I am excited about MSD Capital’s investment into Kobalt and by the opportunity that Kobalt has ahead of it to make the music industry more transparent and efficient,” added Michael S. Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell Inc.

“I am also pleased to have Dell Inc. continuing to support the company as its preferred technology partner, providing the hardware infrastructure and the knowledge, services and support that Kobalt needs to achieve its goals.”

Kobalt offers its clients service, including creative services, synch & brand partnerships, global licensing management, neighboring rights, works and rights distribution, royalty collection and processing, online data and royalty statements, record release management, and digital marketing and monetization.

Its technology includes the YouTube song-claiming tool Proklaim, the global digital music distribution platform AWAL, and its award-winning real-time data and insight reporting Portal.

Kobalt represents over 600,000 songs, representing on average over 40% of the top 100 songs and albums in both the US and UK.Music Business Worldwide

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