Kobalt Music Scores $75 Million Funding Round Led by Hearst Entertainment

Kelly Clarkson
AP/REX/Shuttestock

Kobalt, the Sweden-based music-rights and publishing company, announced Monday that it has raised $75 million in growth capital. The Series D round was led by Hearst Entertainment, a unit of the Hearst media company, with participation from Balderton Capital and MSD Capital.

Kobalt, which represents Paul McCartney, Kelly Clarkson (pictured), Dave Grohl, Dr. Luke, The Chainsmokers, the Miles Davis estate and many others, said in a statement that it would “use the new funding to further scale its unique royalty collections platform to meet the demands of the global surge in music streaming.” The company prides itself on efficiency and transparency in collection of royalties and sharing of fan-engagement data.

Hearst has also invested previously in Pandora and XM Satellite Radio through its ventures arm, Hearst Ventures. However, this is its first investment in a music company.

“From the start, my vision for Kobalt has been to transform the music industry and help take it into the digital age,” said Willard Ahdritz, CEO of Kobalt Music, who founded the company in 2000. “Guided by core principles of transparency, technology, and putting creators first, I have never been more sure that our platform, combined with our global creative team, is the right one to serve creators and rights owners in the rapidly evolving digital music environment.”

“The music industry is growing revenue again, and it’s due to the meteoric rise of music streaming on services like Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon and Pandora,” said Neeraj Khemlani, president of Hearst Entertainment. “Kobalt has built a global collections platform that plugs into the global usage files of music streaming companies to collect royalties faster and more efficiently for the artists and songwriters it represents.

“The deal continues Hearst’s foray into ‘entertainment for the next generation,’” Khemlani added, “and furthers the company’s B2B investment philosophy. Whereas Hearst’s recent investments in Complex and ATV are digital video plays, Kobalt is music, and we envision more areas of investment to come.”

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