Kobalt strikes ‘revolutionary’ deal with YouTube giant AwesomenessTV

Kobalt has signed a new partnership with multi-platform media company Awesomeness TV which it says will ‘revolutionize’ the music business.

AwesomenessTV, co-owned by Comcast, Hearst and Verizon, counts amongst its properties a multi-channel network (MCN) with over 90,000 YouTube channels.

It will now connect its emerging musical talent with Kobalt’s publishing, label services and neighboring rights offerings.

Kobalt operates on a services and administration basis, allowing artists to retain control of their recording and publishing copyrights, as well as their audio/visual rights.

In addition, Kobalt says the partnership “will also create new opportunities for advertisers that seek to engage a mobile-first audience”, with agency Omnicom already securing a ‘first look’ at opportunities for its roster of high profile roster of brands.

The deal officially brings to an end AwesomenessTV’s previous partnership with Universal Music Group, which it signed in July 2014.

UMG originally launched Awesomeness Music as a label in partnership with Loud Records’ founder Steve Rifkind and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.

Billed as the ‘leading global Gen Z entertainment company’ and founded in 2012, AwesomenessTV was acquired by Dreamworks Animation (Comcast) a year after it was established for $33 million in cash.

In April this year, Verizon bought a 24.5% stake in the company for $159m, valuing AwesomenessTV  at $650m.

AwesomenessTV’s portfolio also includes Big Frame, an ‘influencer talent management company’ plus DreamWorksTV. It also makes consumer products, music and branded entertainment divisions.

‘The alliance creates a new paradigm for current and future musicians by enabling full artist control, ownership and monetization across all creative output – music and video,’ said Kobalt in a press release.

It added: ‘As music-related content powers a large share of video consumption, the platform will also create new opportunities for advertisers that seek to engage a mobile-first audience.’

Willard Ahdritz, founder and CEO of Kobalt, told MBW: “We are doing this partnership with AwesomenessTV because they have the same ‘service’ philosophy as Kobalt: Creators come first!

“They have a proven ability to discover and cultivate new talent, and a unique understanding of today’s youth who are the future of music.

“Together, we are going to build a whole new segment of the music industry – focusing on today’s video creators.”

AwesomenessTV’s current YouTube stars include Meg DeAngelis (pictured) who uses her channel to ‘share my weirdness through my camera lens’. She has over 5m subscribers and 465m views.


“That’s What we are creating together with awesomeness: a new definition of what a music artist is.”

Willard Ahdritz, Kobalt

Added Ahdritz: “As streaming continues to grow, not only will there be more opportunity for these young creators to monetize their music, but also more opportunities to expand their careers outside of the traditional music model. And that’s what we are creating together with Awesomeness: a new definition of what a music artist is.”

“This partnership is an example of how we are taking on the restrictive legacy of the traditional music business and replacing it with transparent, smart, artist-friendly solutions that help creators stay in control of their careers in today’s digital world.

Los 5, an emerging independent band in the AwesomenessTV Network and an iHeartRadio Rising Star from LA by way of Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil, is the first act to benefit from the partnership.

Added Ahdritz: “AwesomenessTV has a similar DNA to Kobalt, which is why we’re certain that we’ll make a profound impact on the careers of young creators helping them with service and opportunities to grow. We are both fundamentally aligned on our most important principle – putting talent first.”

AwesomenessTV Founder and CEO Brian Robbins added: “Music is important to our Awesomeness audience and has always been an important part of our content strategy.

“With this partnership, we’ll give artists the tools to easily and independently build their own business and further engage with their fans by making great music and awesome video programming.”Music Business Worldwide

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