Sony Music Acquires Kobalt’s Label and Neighboring Rights Division

Sony Music Entertainment announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Kobalt Music Group to acquire Kobalt’s recorded-music operations, including AWAL, and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights.

AWAL and Neighbouring Rights will become a new division within SME’s suite of independent artist and label services offerings and will be enhanced by the technology and network of SME’s independent music distribution company, The Orchard, according to the announcement. Lonny Olinick will remain AWAL’s CEO.

AWAL will continue to sign, develop and market its own artists. AWAL services include global marketing, creative, synch and brand partnerships, radio promotion and distribution as well as access to real-time comprehensive music analytics.

As part of SME’s global company, AWAL’s extensive roster of artists will have access to an expanded network of resources and partnerships around the world. SME’s continued support of the independent music market through its investment to grow AWAL’s service offerings will create more opportunities for artists to reach fans globally, enabling more paths to market for artists than ever before. Additionally, AWAL artists will be able to capitalize on SME’s and The Orchard’s global distribution footprint.

In making the announcement, Rob Stringer, Chairman, Sony Music Group said, “Our investment in AWAL’s continued growth gives us another level of service to offer the independent music community. With their flexible solutions to building artist careers, together we will offer creators more exciting choices to connect with their audience worldwide.”

Said Brad Navin, CEO, The Orchard, “The Orchard’s comprehensive offerings, global footprint and technology will contribute to AWAL’s continued success. We will give more artists a transparent, global solution and access to multiple touch points to release their music however they choose.”

Lonny Olinick, CEO, AWAL said, “The AWAL team has futuristically enabled artists to deliver their creative vision since its inception. Now, as part of the global Sony ecosystem, we can dramatically expand on this vision for them. We are also excited to build on our innovative neighboring rights as well as DIY platforms with extended support from The Orchard.”

Kobalt’s Neighbouring Rights division, led by CEO, Ann Tausis, is the leading administrator of neighboring sound recording rights with its direct relationships with global collection societies. The Neighbouring Rights business has grown to represent more than 2,000 performers. With this agreement, SME artists and The Orchard distributed labels will be able to partner with Neighbouring Rights to capitalize on its infrastructure and collection network.

The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory and closing conditions.

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