Kobalt Music Group Ltd. launched two new divisions today, Kobalt Artist and Label Services and Kobalt Neighboring Rights Limited, each designed to add another dimension to the publishing company's multi-service artist and label platform. Kobalt also announced that it had acquired digital distributor AWAL Limited in order to broaden its offerings in the burgeoning digital music market.
The acquisition of AWAL spurred the creation of the Artist and Label Services division, with its global distribution deals opening Kobalt to associations with iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Rhapsody and over 200 others. AWAL, which will remain independent but within Kobalt's corporate umbrella, will be able to offer Kobalt artists digital retail sales and premium marketing services, aggregated sales reporting from digital sales, an online client dashboard, a synch licensing platform and BuzzDeck data analytics in addition to distribution.
"Our expansion and launch of Kobalt's Artist and Label Services division and the acquisition of AWAL is a response to our clients' needs and to a major shift in where we see the market is heading," said Willard Ahdritz, CEO and Founder of Kobalt Music Group, in a press release. "This acquisition is a building block in Kobalt's long-term strategy of creating a new kind of full music service alternative for rights holders including artists and labels."
Kobalt Neighboring Rights Limited's direction will include simplifying and speeding up the process of royalty payments, hoping to boost payments by 25 percent for rights holders, including Kobalt clients No Doubt, LMFAO, Skrillex and Tiësto, to keep the list short.
Paul Hitchman, former A&R man for Warner Music UK and Arista/BMG UK and co-founder of digital music companies Playlouder, MSP and CI has been tapped as Managing Director of Kobalt Artist and Label Services, while Hans van Berkel, founder and former CEO of SENA, will assume the post of Executive Chairman at Kobalt Neighboring Rights Limited.