Willard Ahdritz is the Founder & CEO of Kobalt Music Group, the world’s leading independent music services company, built for artists, songwriters, publishers and labels as an alternative to the traditional music business model. Kobalt’s commitment to technology, transparency, and creators’ rights has driven tremendous growth year-over-year for the company and its clients.
Now in operation for more than 15 years, Kobalt employs a staff of 500 in ten offices worldwide and has representatives in more than 20 countries. Kobalt’s global technology platform is uniquely able to track and collect royalties for the billions of micro-payments per song in digital music today. Kobalt offers its clients a variety of services, including creative services, synch & brand partnerships, global licensing management, neighboring rights, works and rights distribution, royalty collection and processing, the Kobalt and AWAL Portals and Apps, YouTube monetization, record release management, digital distribution and marketing.
The company continues to innovate and set new standards in the industry, its model having been embraced by a wide variety of content holders including the world’s top songwriters, artists and other music publishers.
Today, Kobalt’s Music Publishing, Neighbouring Rights, and Recordings/AWAL divisions serve over 25,000 songwriters, 600 publishers, and 20,000 independent artists, including The Chainsmokers, Kelly Clarkson, Miles Davis, Dave Grohl, Dr Luke, Zayn Malik, Max Martin, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Pitbull, Elvis Presley, Skrillex, Sam Smith, and many more. Kobalt represents on average over 40% of the top 100 songs and albums in both the US and UK.
From 1993 to 1999, Ahdritz was a management consultant at L.E.K. Consulting in London, working primarily in the financial and transportation sectors for major companies. Combining his passion for the music business with his financial background and experience with management of complex information flows, in 2000, Ahdritz conceived Kobalt’s ground-breaking business model: a more modern, transparent and efficient collections structure designed to better service the creative and global administration needs of the songwriter and copyright holder.
A music lover and saxophone player, Ahdritz has more than 15 years of music publishing experience. He founded Telegram Records and Publishing in 1986 and ran it until 1991, signing notable songwriters such as Magnus Frykberg, Titiyo, Rob n Raz, Leila K and Papa Dee. Telegram was one of the most successful music start-ups in Sweden, putting Stockholm on the map as a creative hub.