Kobalt makes up with Meta: New deal struck to license 700,000 songs for Facebook

Kobalt publishes the catalog of Paul McCartney (pictured). The firm administers works for approximately 25,000 songwriters and 600 publishers.

In July, MBW reported that Kobalt Music Publishing – home to 700,000 songs – was pulling its repertoire from Facebook and Instagram in the United States.

According to a memo sent to Kobalt writers and partners on July 23, the company was planning to take this action because its US licensing deal with Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, had expired – and the two parties had failed to reach a new agreement.

At the time, Kobalt explained in its memo that it had “worked diligently and in good faith to come to an agreement covering a new license for Kobalt’s repertoire”.

The note continued, however, that “Unfortunately, fundamental differences remained that we were not able to resolve in your best interests, and as a result Kobalt’s repertoire is in the process of being removed from Meta’s services, including Facebook and Instagram, in the United States”.

Kobalt also added: “We’ve always stood for songwriters first, and we’re proud to continue to do so. We remain fully committed to reaching an agreement with Meta.”

MBW has confirmed today (September 20) that Kobalt has indeed reached a fresh licensing agreement with Meta.

In a new memo sent to Kobalt clients in the past few days, and obtained by MBW, Kobalt says that it has “been working with Meta on new licensing terms” since its previous deal expired in July, and that it is now “pleased to announce that Kobalt’s repertoire is once again licensed on Meta Platforms in the US”.

The note adds: “You should expect to see your repertoire return to Meta’s platforms shortly”.

Kobalt Music Publishing becomes the latest music company to strike a deal with Meta following last month’s news that Warner Music Group had inked a new licensing deal with Facebook and Instagram’s parent company.

Warner‘s Meta deal, confirmed by WMG CEO Steve Cooper during an earnings call on August 9, came nearly two weeks after rival Universal Music Group revealed that it had formed a similar partnership with the tech giant.

Since pulling its catalog from Facebook and Instagram, Kobalt has been sold to a consortium led by private equity company Francisco Partners (FP).

As reported by  MBW earlier this month, the buyout of Kobalt was worth approximately USD $750 million, according to people familiar with the deal speaking to MBW.

MBW understands that, should the deal clear regulatory/closing conditions, FP’s controlling stake in Kobalt will equate to around 90% of the music company.

Meanwhile, two other new co-investors are to each acquire minority stakes in Kobalt at the same time: Matt Pincus’s MUSIC, plus Dundee Partners. (Pincus will join the Board of Kobalt post the deal closing.)

It’s further understood that Kobalt founder, Willard Ahdritz, will continue to own a minority stake in the firm.

You can read Kobalt’s memo about its agreement with Meta in full below:

Valued Kobalt Client,

On July 23rd, we wrote to inform you that Kobalt’s license covering usage on Meta Platforms (including Instagram and Facebook) in the United States expired at midnight the previous night.

Since then, we’ve been working with Meta on new licensing terms and today we’re pleased to announce that Kobalt’s repertoire is once again licensed on Meta Platforms in the US.

You should expect to see your repertoire return to Meta’s platforms shortly.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Kind Regards,

Kobalt Music Publishing.Music Business Worldwide

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