Kobalt, the leading global music services company, today announced it has raised $75 million in growth capital. The Series D round was led by Hearst Entertainment with participation from Balderton Capital and MSD Capital.
Kobalt, which represents many of the world’s top artists, publishers and songwriters, will use the new funding to further scale its unique royalty collections platform to meet the demands of the global surge in music streaming. The company’s platform is optimized to collect royalties faster and more efficiently, and also allows its clients to see when, where and how fans engage with their music.
“From the start, my vision for Kobalt has been to transform the music industry and help take it into the digital age,” said Willard Ahdritz, founder and CEO of Kobalt Music. “With the high growth of streaming and the billions of microtransactions that take place per song, the music industry is more complex than ever. Guided by core principles of transparency, technology and putting creators first, I have never been more sure that our platform, combined with our global creative team, is the right one to serve creators and rights owners in the rapidly evolving digital music environment.”
“The music industry is growing revenue again and it’s due to the meteoric rise of music streaming on services like Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon and Pandora,” said Neeraj Khemlani, president of Hearst Entertainment. “Willard has brilliantly positioned Kobalt to be an important company at the center of this booming industry by building an invaluable platform for artists, songwriters and third party labels and publishers looking to have complete, real time transparency into how their music is being consumed and thereby collect royalty revenue more efficiently and faster than ever before.”
Ahdritz added,“We are excited to have Hearst as a new investor in Kobalt. They share our passion for making sure creators are paid and fully informed. Hearst is a prominent content owner with exciting investments in new forms of entertainment for the next generation of consumers. We welcome them on the board of Kobalt.”
A Kobalt Progress Report
Kobalt’s unique global rights management platform delivers, on average, more than a 25 percent uplift in revenue for Kobalt clients and collects royalties two to three years faster than the industry standard. The company forecasts a further increase in collections as streaming continues to grow and more markets are monetized. Since Kobalt’s last funding round in 2015, the company has continued its global expansion in publishing and recordings, become the world’s largest private neighboring rights agent, and launched AMRA as the only global digital collection society. Today, Kobalt is uniquely able to cover the entire value chain for artists, songwriters, rights owners and publishers with total transparency and efficiency.
The company also delivered important technology milestones:
• The Kobalt App - Developed for songwriters and publishers to view all their rights globally and see how each song, by right type, directly translates into income.
• The AWAL App - Developed for independent artists to visualize their streaming performance across Apple Music and Spotify, including corresponding fan demographics, AWAL curated data-driven insights and comprehensive royalty revenue.
Kobalt (kobaltmusic.com) is the world’s leading music services company. Built for creators, Kobalt Music offers an alternative to the traditional music business model. It's Music Publishing, Recordings and Neighboring Rights divisions are committed to empowering artists, songwriters, publishers and labels with advanced technology, transparency, flexibility, ownership and control. Kobalt’s global royalty collections platform is uniquely designed to maximize efficiency and accuracy across the billions of micro-payments collected in today’s highly complex digital world. Today, Kobalt Music Publishing serves over 25,000 songwriters and 600 publishing companies worldwide, representing on average over 40 percent of the top 100 songs and albums in both the U.S. and U.K. Kobalt Music clients include Beck, Kelly Clarkson, Dave Grohl, deadmau5, Max Martin, Paul McCartney, Pitbull, Sam Smith, Noah “40” Shebib, Skrillex and many more. Kobalt's streaming label, AWAL, partners with over 20,000 independent artists, committed to helping them build a sustainable career in streaming.
For more information on Kobalt, please contact: info[.]kobaltmusic.com. For more information on AWAL, please visit awal.com/.
Hearst Entertainment (hearst.com) is a unit of Hearst, one of the nation's largest diversified media, information and services companies with more than 360 businesses. Hearst’s major interests include ownership in cable television networks such as A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime and ESPN; majority ownership of global ratings agency Fitch Group; Hearst Health, a group of medical information and services businesses; 30 television stations such as WCVB-TV in Boston and KCRA-TV in Sacramento, Calif., which reach a combined 19 percent of U.S. viewers; newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and Albany Times Union, nearly 300 magazines around the world including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper's BAZAAR and Car and Driver; digital services businesses such as iCrossing and KUBRA; and investments in emerging digital and video companies such as BuzzFeed, Vice, Complex Networks and AwesomenessTV.