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Power Players

No. 88
Willard Ahdritz

Founder/CEO
Kobalt Music Group
Twitter: @KobaltMusic
Change Agent...

Willard Ahdritz and the company he founded in 2000 have been at the vanguard of a movement toward greater royalty accounting transparency in the music publishing business, and managers of Kobalt artists say he remains miles ahead of the competition. Ahdritz claims that his model provides artists with, on average, 25% more revenue, and that songwriters can receive royalty payments with shorter lag times than what they can expect from other publishers or administrators. He's created a new division to chase neighboring rights royalties. His business has grown from about $30 million in fiscal 2008 to an estimated $125 million in the company's current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Now that Kobalt has gained the trust of artists, songwriters and managers, Ahdritz has launched an artist and label services operation to capitalize on the growing demand among artists to retain control of their master copyrights. As part of that move, Kobalt has just acquired Artists Without a Label (AWAL), a digital aggregator based in London and Sheffield, England. Remember when everyone thought Ahdritz was crazy? Now, not so much.

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