Music publishing and rights management firm Kobalt has raised $75 million in growth capital. The Series D round was led by Hearst Entertainment with participation from Balderton Capital and MSD Capital.
Including today's $75 million round, Kobalt has raised $191 million. The company is valued at $775 million. Lead investor Hearst has previously invested in Pandora and SiriusXM through its ventures arm, Hearst Ventures.
Kobalt represents 25,000 songwriters, 600 publishers and 20,000 independent artists. Clients include The Chainsmokers, Kelly Clarkson, Miles Davis, Dave Grohl, Dr Luke, Zayn Malik, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Pitbull, Skrillex and Sam Smith.
“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.”
Kobalt will use the new funds to "further scale its unique royalty collections platform to meet the demands of the global surge in music streaming."
“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, founder and CEO of Kobalt Music. “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.”