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The Music Business Association (Music Biz) today announces that Kobalt Music Group Founder and Chairman Willard Ahdritz will receive the organization’s 2020 Innovator Award during the annual Music Biz Awards Dinner, taking place Wednesday, May 13 at the JW Marriott Nashville as part of the Music Biz 2020 Conference.

According to the announcement, “Observing how technology rapidly transformed industries in the late 1990s, Ahdritz saw an opportunity in music and wanted to take the music industry into the digital age. He understood that only a sophisticated infrastructure could best serve the needs of the music industry, given the incoming high volume of low-value digital transactions. This led him to start Kobalt and create a centralized organization supported by a global platform.”

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Kobalt serves more than 600 publishers and 40,000 artists & songwriters, including Childish Gambino, Glassnote Music, Dave Grohl, Enrique Iglesias, Lauv, Lorde, Marshmello, Max Martin, Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, and The Weeknd.

Last month, Ahdritz announced that he was transitioning from the role of CEO to Chairman of Kobalt. He will also remain the chief investment officer for Kobalt Capital, the company’s investment advisor arm.

“It’s safe to say that the music industry as we know it today was uniquely shaped by the pioneering mind of Willard Ahdritz,” commented 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.”

“I am humbled to receive this award,” Ahdritz shared. “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.”

Music Biz’s Innovator Award “honors those who seek to challenge the standards of music creation and commerce, pushing the boundaries of what is possible with astounding results.”