It won’t have escaped the music business’s attention that Kobalt seems to have been more visible than ever in the past couple of years.
There was that Wired cover, bold ads claiming Kobalt gets “more money, faster” for clients, an investment from Google Ventures, widespread coverage for fast-growing sister collection society AMRA – and MBW hears it will be at the centre of a documentary on the way from The Economist.
Meanwhile, Kobalt’s mantra of “transparency” has become an industry buzzword to such an extent, it’s now being echoed in the boardrooms of the majors.
It’s fair to say that even Kobalt’s toughest critics have been known to privately acknowledge: ‘They’re bloody good at PR.’
Least surprising personnel news of 2016, then: The exec responsible for making sure Kobalt gets talked about for the right reasons, Ryan Wright, has just been promoted at the New York company.
Wright (pictured) steps up to Chief Marketing Officer at the company’s New York office, a position in which he will oversee marketing, communications and client experience for Kobalt and its brands (including Kobalt itself, plus Kobalt Neighbouring Rights, Kobalt Label Services, AMRA and AWAL).
Wright’s boss, Kobalt CEO Willard Ahdritz, has clearly been impressed since the exec joined the independent rights firm from Sony Music in 2013.
Ahdritz said: “I am thrilled to have Ryan’s experience, talent and passion as our CMO during this important time of growth for Kobalt.
“As many other music companies are now beginning to talk about ‘transparency’ and ‘portals’, Willard is already 10 years ahead, building the music industry of the future.”
Ryan Wright, Kobalt
“He has played a key role in positioning Kobalt as the leading voice in music for transparency, technology and creators’ rights. And will be instrumental as we launch our aggressive lineup of new tech products and services that will continue to put our clients first and deliver the best results for them.”
Wright told MBW: “For me, my job is less about positioning Kobalt and more about simply getting the facts out into the open. Telling the truth!
“Isn’t that a new way of looking at marketing? Using all of the data that Kobalt has, to show the remarkable uplift and support that we are delivering to our clients – as well as showcasing the incredible work that our music creatives do with our clients to help grow their careers.”
Wright reiterated that Kobalt has “an aggressive line-up of launches” prepared for 2016, following some other recent key hires and appointments at the company – including Jeannette Perez stepping up to Global Synch & Partnerships boss and Sam Taylor joining as SVP of Creative in Los Angeles.
“Our tech team has been hard at work developing the most sophisticated analytics and data management tools for songwriters, publishers and artists,” he said. “We hired 50 new people in tech just this past year. As many other music companies are now just beginning to talk about ‘transparency’ and ‘portals’, Willard is already 10 years ahead, building the music industry of the future.
“Ryan will be instrumental as we launch our aggressive line-up of new tech products and services that will continue to put our clients first.”
Willard Ahdritz, Kobalt
“We will soon be revealing a number of new stunning features to both the Kobalt Portal and our YouTube collections platform, Proklaim, as well as announce some very exciting NEW products and services for artists and creators around the world.”
Wright added: “Willard’s No.1 priority is always our clients. As we are growing so rapidly – 40% year-on-year – he wants to make sure we are focused on exceeding our clients’ expectations in terms of support, education, revenue results, and the tech products and tools that are available to them.
“He also wants to make sure that with so much misinformation out there about our industry, we are able to clearly and consistently get the facts out so that everyone understands the real issues and opportunities ahead – as well as telling our story in a way that ensures people understand what Kobalt does and what we stand for. There is a lot to do!”
Wright has more than 18 years of marketing, brand strategy, PR, consumer insight and strategic partnership experience across the globe.
Prior to Kobalt, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Sony Music, leading Sony’s marketing teams and global superstar releases around the world.
Wright started his career at Samsung, based in Seoul, Korea.
He then moved to Jive Records to oversee the Asia Pacific Region from Singapore and was later appointed as VP of Global Marketing for BMG, based in NYC.Music Business Worldwide