Kobalt Secures $60 Million Funding Round, Led By Google, To Scale Up Operations

Willard Ahdritz, CEO of Kobalt.

Courtesy Kobalt

Independent publishing and music rights management company Kobalt has secured $60 million in funding to further develop its technology infrastructure and expand operations.
Leading the Series C funding round is Google Ventures, joined by MSDC Management, L.P. and MSD Capital, L.P., the private investment firm of Dell Inc. founder and CEO Michael S. Dell, which increases its existing stake in Kobalt.

The capital will be spent on ramping up the company's suite of technology solutions for the reporting and collection of digital music royalties for over 8,000 songwriters and 500 publishing companies worldwide. In June last year, Kobalt raised $140 million with investors including London-based Balderton Capital.
"We take great pride in the fact that Google Ventures and MSD Capital both share our vision of technology and transparency working together to create a new industry structure in today's complex digital world," said Willard Ahdritz, Kobalt founder and CEO in a statement.

"We are relentless in our mission to increase trust between the music and technology industries in order to build a new infrastructure that benefits fans, creators, rights owners and DSPs, all together," Ahdritz went on to say.

Bill Maris, managing partner at Google Ventures, the tech giant's investment arm, called Kobalt "one of the most innovative brands in media today" and said the company's "solid execution over the past decade coupled with Willard's unwavering passion and commitment made [it] an attractive investment."

Established in 2000, Kobalt clients include Maroon 5, Dave Grohl, Max Martin, Bob Dylan, Pitbull, One Republic, Simon & Garfunkel, Gwen Stefani, Ryan Tedder and Paul McCartney, among others, representing on average over 40% of the top 100 songs and albums in both the U.S and U.K. In addition to music publishing, the company also runs label services and neighboring rights divisions and says it has experienced 40 percent growth year-on-year during the past decade.

In November, Kobalt announced that its writers' revenues from Spotify had surpassed iTunes in Europe by 13% and that streaming now accounts for 10% of its clients' global publishing income.