Kobalt Founder Willard Ahdritz to Receive 'Innovator Award' at Music Biz Awards

Willard Ahdritz
Courtesy of Kobalt

Willard Ahdritz

Kobalt Music Group founder and chairman Willard Ahdritz has been tapped to receive the Music Business Association’s Innovator Award at the upcoming Music Biz Awards Dinner. Ahdritz, who recently announced his transition from CEO at the multi-faceted music company, will be honored for his work on behalf of creators and rights holders at the JW Marriott in downtown Nashville on May 13.

"It's safe to say that the music industry as we know it today was uniquely shaped by the pioneering mind of Willard Ahdritz," said Music Biz president Portia Sabin. "His foresight regarding the coming changes in the marketplace combined with his ability to reimagine standard practices has been a dynamite recipe for commercial success. For these reasons and more, we’re honored to present Willard with Music Biz's Innovator Award."

Ahdritz founded Kobalt in 2000. Its three divisions -- music publishing, recordings (via AWAL) and neighbouring rights -- collectively represent 25,000 songwriters, 20,000 indie artists and 600 publishers, which, the company claims, accounts for on average 40 percent of the top 100 songs albums in both the U.K. and U.S. The Kobalt universe also includes AMRA, the global digital music collection society it acquired in 2015.

"I am humbled to receive this award," Ahdritz said. "Kobalt just entered its 20th year and we’ve been fortunate to play an important role in the transformation of the music industry. This change has improved the lives of artists and songwriters. That was long overdue. And I know there is much more left for us to do to make this industry better. This award is further validation we’re on the right path. That, and the hugs we get from our clients." 

The Innovator Award was previously given to Third Man Records founder and all-around rock star Jack White, in 2015. Music Biz 2020 returns to Nashville May 11-14 at the JW Marriott in Nashville.


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