Kobalt Enters Next Phase Amid Continued Growth

Company Gross Collections Grew 25% to $616M Last Year and Expects to Approach $700M This Financial Year
After Achieving Scale and Supporting Music Industry Transformation, Company Focused on Profitable Growth
Kobalt Well-Suited to Weather Coronavirus Crisis

March 31, 2020 - Kobalt today reported that its gross collections grew by 25% to $616M in the fiscal year-ending June 30, 2019, and the company expects continued growth to approach $700M in gross collections the fiscal year- ending June 30, 2020. The company’s average headcount grew from 515 to 652 employees during that same fiscal year and has since expanded in France to further support its roster across the globe.

“This past year was another banner year of growth. In addition, we successfully scaled our business to support our clients in the next phase of Kobalt,” said Willard Ahdritz, Founder & Chairman of Kobalt.” For the past 20 years, Kobalt has worked to create a better music industry for artists and songwriters. Our pace and focus on more transparency, less confusion, and being tech and talent-friendly has had a major impact on the industry. Kobalt’s mission is stronger than ever and we are aiming for future growth and profitability. I’m very excited to continue to serve our clients with the global strength of our staff, systems, technology and partners.”

“In the past three years, Kobalt has grown significantly and succeeded in many areas, said Laurent Hubert, CEO of Kobalt. “With any company that grows at our pace to compete with highly entrenched competitors, it’s remarkable what we’ve been able to achieve. As an agent of change in the publishing industry to help songwriters and help take artists to the top of the charts via our recordings arm, AWAL, we still know there’s more to do. There’s opportunities to be more efficient and provide more value. I’m excited about this next phase of profitable growth, while continuing to offer the best global services to talent and partners.”

Growth Highlights  

  • Publishing (Including Synch) - Kobalt publishing division represents some of the most exciting and iconic talent in the industry, including Childish Gambino, Dave Grohl, Enrique Iglesias, FINNEAS, Lorde, Zayn Malik, Bob Marley, Marshmello, Max Martin, Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, The Weeknd, and many more. Last year, the division signed Gunna, will.i.am, Norah Jones, SLOWTHAI, Tim James, Lil Pump, Anuel AA, along with many others. In addition, Kobalt was consistently a top three music publisher in terms of chart share in the highly competitive US marketplace for four consecutive quarters. The division also grew revenue over 28% to $405M in the past fiscal year.
  • AWAL - In the last fiscal year, AWAL revenue grew 86%. During that time the company drove billions of streams and represented some of the brightest artists in the world including Kim Petras, Steve Lacy, Cold War Kids, Girl in Red, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Gerry Cinnamon, Little Simz, and more. In addition, the company has since helped Lauv achieve 5 billion streams and become the world’s biggest independent artist.
  • Kobalt Neighbouring Rights (KNR) - Some of the biggest names in music entrust Kobalt to administer their neighbouring rights income around the world including, A$AP Rocky, The Chainsmokers, Dua Lipa, Lewis Capaldi, Lil Wayne, Sia, Young Thug and many more. Last year, KNR represented 70% of the UK’s most played artists. The division continued to grow its roster with Cardi B, Rag 'n' Bone Man, Lauv, Dean Lewis, Yungblud, among others, joining as clients.
  • Kobalt Capital Limited (KCL) - The two music royalty funds managed by KCL, owned by institutional and private investors and administered by Kobalt, also had another great year. The funds delivered solid returns on historic acquisitions, advances, and new investments. The first fund (launched in 2011) and the second fund (launched 2017) have made investments totaling $1.1 billion to date.
  • AMRA - The unique global digital collection society, and a key part of Kobalt that ensures global writers and artists are paid accurately and fairly, grew overall revenue by 46% in the past fiscal year. AMRA ingested and processed 15.3 billion pieces of usage data, which is up 42% over 2018, and automatically matched 5.2 million, which is a 97% increase year-on-year. 

Kobalt Well-Suited to Weather Coronavirus Crisis

Ahdritz added, “The music industry is entering some uncertain times as a result of the coronavirus crisis, which is being felt around the industry, especially in live music. As much as I believed large parts of the industry would transform into digital 20 years ago, I’m confident that our company - and others that have truly invested in tech, systems and global remote workforces - are well-prepared to continue to support artists, songwriters and partners during this time of crisis. Our hearts go out to the songwriters, artists and all those hard-working people behind the scenes whose livelihoods are severely disrupted right now especially in the live music industry and we all hope for a swift recovery.”

Hubert added, “Kobalt has taken many proactive steps to ensure our staff’s safety and well-being in this uncertain time. I’m pleased to say that we transitioned smoothly to an all remote workforce back on March 10th. While not intentional for this exact scenario, our unique global setup that allows our teams and creatives to leverage tech remotely has us well-prepared. It did not take us long to get our operations up and running to support all of our clients. Kobalt is well-capitalized and we will continue to invest in staff’s well-being and our client services to achieve our long-term business goals.”

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