Kobalt announced today a significant expansion of AWAL, its recorded-music division, by investing $150 million into the business, hiring 100 additional employees and introducing new technology products at this year’s SXSW conference. The company also announced it is combining all of its recording businesses under the AWAL name. The company’s services include digital distribution, music data, marketing, A&R and promotion.
“We’re leveling the playing field,” said Kobalt Music Founder & CEO, Willard Ahdritz. “For too long, artists have had to go through the gatekeepers to make a living out of music. Today, artists can build a career without the hangover of a traditional label deal. Hundreds of artists on AWAL are making over $50,000 a year and many earn in the millions without signing away their rights. We are also helping dozens of other independent labels do the same for their artists.”
According to a press release, the company’s goal is to help enable artists to attain “career-defining success as independent artists while retaining their music rights,” citing AWAL artists like Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Lauv, Bruno Major, Tom Misch, R3HAB,The Wombats, VÉRITÉ, and many more have all had.
“There are thousands of artists with real potential today who are lacking a true global partner with the capacity for funding, A&R, music data insights, promotion, distribution, and marketing support,” said AWAL CEO, Lonny Olinick. “To be able to help all of these artists, you need to understand what level of support and capital artists need at what stage in their career — so they can continue to rise. Through our tech platform and global team with deep industry experience across the globe, AWAL is in a unique position to support both the rising stars and global superstars.”
The company also announced that more data and analytics will be available via the AWAL app, and it is also organizing an “AWAL House” at SXSW with workshops, demonstrations, speakers and showcases.
Kobalt has been on a growth spurt in recent months, acquiring the publishing catalogs of The Weeknd, Lorde, Major Lazer and others with its acquisition of Songs Music Publishing (via the Kobalt Capital Fund) for an estimated $150 million in December. Kobalt recently secured another $14 million to its recent Series D round of growth capital, bringing the total to $89 million.