Chairman & Founder, Kobalt Music
Willard Ahdritz is the Founder & Chairman of Kobalt Music, a full-service platform for songwriters and publishers to give them full transparency regarding their music rights and royalties across the billions of micro-payments collected in today’s highly complex digital world, where, as CEO from 2002 to 2020, he introduced transparency and big tech to the industry and built the company into a top 3 global music publisher. In 2021, he sold AWAL, a Music as a Service company for artists, and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights to Sony Music for USD 430 million. He was the Chief Investment Officer and General Partner of Kobalt Capital heading two funds: Fund I was sold to Hipgnosis for USD 323 million in 2020 and a year later, Fund II to a KKR-led consortium for USD 1.1 billion. In 2022, Kobalt selected Francisco Partners to take a controlling interest in the company in order to invest in its next phase of furthering AMRA, enriching Kobalt's technology innovation, and increasing its footprint as the leading independent global music publisher. In 2020, Variety named Ahdritz one of the most influential business leaders shaping the global media industry, and he received the 2020 Music Biz Innovator Award. He is on the advisory board of the Norrsken Foundation’s Norrsken22 Africa Tech Growth Fund and an alumnus of SSE/NYU Stern. He lives in New York with his family.