WILLARD AHDRITZ, 53
Last Year’s Rank: 71
BIG DEAL: Ahdritz’s Kobalt Capital division raised $600 million to invest in music copyrights, and in January spent a reported $140 million for SONGS Music Publishing.
IMPROVING SUCCESS: Like the jazz music Ahdritz loves, his moves may seem free-form, but they are rigorously structured. Kobalt’s American Music Rights Association signed ole and Anacrusis within the past year, and Artists Without a Label, which Kobalt purchased in 2012, spawned its first breakout star in Lauv, whose “I Like Me Better” became a hit on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, generating over 120 million U.S. streams. Kobalt now has a market valuation of $790 million, and Ahdritz’s vision of a tech-savvy, end-to-end global rights administration platform has become a blueprint for other aspiring empire-builders.