Kobalt raises $60 mln from Google Ventures, MSD Capital

Kobalt, a music publishing and global music rights management services company, has raised $60 million in Series C funding with Google Ventures, existing investor MSD Capital and MSDC Management. Kobalt has already raised $66 million. The new funding will support Kobalt’s work with artists and songwriters with creative services.

Press Release

Kobalt, the leading independent music publishing and global music rights management services company, today announced it has raised a $60 million Series C funding round with Google Ventures, MSD Capital, L.P., the private investment firm for Michael S. Dell and his family, which is a current Kobalt investor, and MSDC Management, L.P. This financing round adds to the $66 million already raised by the company.

The new funding will be used to support Kobalt’s commitment to serving artists and songwriters with unparalleled creative services and to further develop and scale Kobalt’s suite of technology solutions that efficiently collect and report music royalties in today’s complex digital world.

Kobalt made headlines last fall with an announcement that showed strong growth in streaming collections in Europe. The increase in collections can now be felt on a global level, with Kobalt looking to reach as many as 1.5 billion music listeners, continuing an impressive growth curve. Kobalt has experienced 40 percent growth year-over-year through the past decade and now serves over 8,000+ songwriters and over 500 publishing companies worldwide. Kobalt represents on average 40 percent of the top 100 songs and albums in the United States and the United Kingdom. With a 98.5 percent artist retention rate, Kobalt has built the most trusted brand in music among music creators including Beck, Dr. Luke, Foo Fighters, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, Max Martin, Paul McCartney, Pitbull, Ryan Tedder, Sam Smith, Skrillex, and others. 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, online data and royalty statements, record release management, and digital marketing and monetization.

“We take great pride in the fact that Google Ventures and MSD Capital both share our vision of technology and transparency working together to create a new industry structure in today’s complex digital world,” said Willard Ahdritz, Kobalt founder and CEO. “We are relentless in our mission to increase trust between the music and technology industries in order to build a new infrastructure that benefits fans, creators, rights owners and DSPs, all together.”

“The music industry is going through dynamic changes all around the world, and Kobalt will be instrumental in shaping its future positively for all constituents, starting with artists,” said Bill Maris, Managing Partner at Google Ventures. “The company’s solid execution over the past decade coupled with Willard’s unwavering passion and commitment made this an attractive investment for us. Kobalt’s commitment to trust, transparency and technology has positioned it as one of the most innovative brands in media today.”

“In the past year since we closed our initial investment into Kobalt, we have been extremely impressed by the leadership team and with the pace of innovation that Kobalt has been driving in its service offerings,” said David Caro, a Director at MSD Capital and a Kobalt board member. “The migration to a global, digital business model in the music industry is accelerating, and Kobalt’s rights licensing, royalty reporting, collection and payment platforms are leading the way in assisting and enabling that transformation.”

“I am excited about MSD Capital’s investment into Kobalt and by the opportunity that Kobalt has ahead of it to make the music industry more transparent and efficient,” added Michael S. Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell Inc. “I am also pleased to have Dell Inc. continuing to support the company as its preferred technology partner, providing the hardware infrastructure and the knowledge, services and support that Kobalt needs to achieve its goals.”

About Kobalt
To learn more about Kobalt, please visit www.kobaltmusic.com

About Google Ventures
To learn more about Google Ventures, please visit www.gv.com.

About MSD Capital, L.P. and MSDC Management, L.P.
MSD Capital, L.P. is the private investment firm that was established in 1998 to exclusively manage the capital of Michael Dell and his family. The firm’s investment strategy is focused on maximizing long-term capital appreciation by making investments across the globe in the equities of public and private companies, credit, real estate and other asset classes and securities. In 2009, the principals of MSD Capital formed MSDC Management, L.P., an SEC-registered investment adviser, to enable a select group of investors to invest in strategies that were developed by MSD Capital. MSD Capital and MSDC Management are headquartered in New York. In total, the firms manage assets in excess of $15 billion.