Ryan Wright, Kobalt‘s most senior marketing executive, has left the music company to launch a new creative startup, MBW has confirmed.
Wright leaves behind his role as Chief Marketing Officer at Kobalt, which he joined in late 2013.
At Kobalt, Wright has led marketing for both Kobalt’s core music publishing company, in addition to AWAL – the independent distribution and services platform that Sony Music recently staked $430 million on acquiring. (Sony‘s acquisition of AWAL is agreed but not yet finalized, due to standard regulatory processes.)
New York-based Wright was integral to AWAL blowing up as a music industry story, marshalling the marketing of the business before and after a $150m investment into it by Kobalt in 2018.
This meant Wright had the tricky job of getting the music industry accustomed to a new acronym for AWAL – A World Artists Love – after its initial acronym, Artists Without A Label, was discarded. (Probably for the best, considering the fact it would later be acquired by a major record company.)
“Ryan played a key part in the development of the Kobalt and AWAL brands. His passion for our mission is second to none and we will miss him.”
Willard Ahdritz, Kobalt
Willard Ahdritz, founder and Chairman of Kobalt, confirmed the departure of Wright to MBW, stating: “For seven years I worked with Ryan as our CMO. He played a key part in the development of the Kobalt and AWAL brands. His passion for our mission is second to none and we will miss him.
“We wish him all the best and we’re excited to see him launch his own creative brand outside the music industry.”
Prior to joining Kobalt in 2013, Wright was SVP of Global Marketing for Sony Music. He started his career in 1997 at Samsung in Seoul, Korea, before moving to Jive Records to oversee the Asia Pacific Region from Singapore.
After agreeing the sale of AWAL, Kobalt continues to operate its $500m-per-year music publishing company as well as managing investments for funds looking to buy music copyrights via Kobalt Capital.
Earlier this month, Kobalt saw 16 of its songwriters pick up 16 gongs at the 2021 ASCAP Pop Awards.
Those writers included Finneas O’Connell, Max Martin, Savan Kotecha (MXM), Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, Roddy Ricch, Henry “Cirkut” Walter (Prescription Songs), Amy Allen (APG), Emily Warren (Prescription Songs), Shahrukh “GLYTTRYP” Zaman Khan, Stefan Johnson (Hipgnosis), Christian Klosterman PKA “Otterpop”, Keith Thomas, KBeaZy, Jacob Kasher “JKash”, and Madison Love (APG).Music Business Worldwide