Part of the high profile TGE:IN-CONVERSATION programme, we welcome Kobalt Music founder and CEO Willard Ahdritz to the Great Escape stage.
Willard will discuss how his business has revolutionised the management and monetisation of music rights and how Kobalt is now expanding its groundbreaking new approach into recordings.
He will also consider what challenges remain for artists and songwriters looking to maximise the value of their music rights.
About Willard Ahdritz
Willard Ahdritz is the Founder and CEO of Kobalt, a music and technology company built for artists, songwriters, publishers and labels as an alternative to the traditional music business model. Ahdritz founded Kobalt in 2000 with a relentless pursuit to create a more transparent, fair and rewarding alternative for artists, songwriters, music publishers and labels. Through Kobalt’s unique “clients first” service model, and creating the world’s most advanced multi-rights royalty collections technology, Ahdritz has changed the music industry forever.
Today, Kobalt’s music publishing, neighboring rights, society (AMRA) and recordings/AWAL divisions serve over 25,000 songwriters, 600 publishers, and 20,000 independent artists, including The Chainsmokers, Kelly Clarkson, Miles Davis, Dave Grohl, Lauv, Zayn Malik, Max Martin, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Pitbull, Elvis Presley, Skrillex, Sam Smith and many more. Kobalt represents on average over 40% of the top 100 songs and albums in both the US and UK.
Leading up to the founding of Kobalt Music, Ahdritz had a series of experiences that inspired him to build the music company of the future. The first was his time in the Swedish army, where he was a coder for digital mobile phones and quickly learned the power of technology.
Shortly thereafter, he started Telegram Music and saw that most artists were stuck in bad deals and that it took them years to be paid with no real transparency. And the only way artists could access their information was to sue your publisher or record label.
Lastly, after he completed his MBA at NYU, he was a consultant at LEK and worked with major companies on how to handle enormous and complex volumes of data with sophisticated databases.
As he saw how technology was transforming industries overnight in the late 90s, he looked back at his own experiences and realized that the traditional ways music companies collected and accounted for royalties around the world would never work once the volume of digital micro-transactions really began to grow.With that inspiration, Ahdritz started Kobalt in 2000 to bring technology, transparency and trust to the music industry.
Now in operation for more than seventeen years, Kobalt employs a staff of 500 in ten offices worldwide. Kobalt’s global technology platform is uniquely able to track and collect royalties for the billions of micro-payments per song in digital music today.
Kobalt offers its clients a variety of services, including creative services, synch & brand partnerships, global licensing management, neighboring rights, works and rights distribution, royalty collection and processing, YouTube monetisation, record release management, digital distribution and marketing.
The company continues to innovate and set new standards in the industry. Kobalt’s model has been embraced by a wide variety of content holders, including the world’s top songwriters, artists, and other music publishers.
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