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Sony Music Entertainment To Acquire Leading Artist Services Company AWAL

Feb 01, 2021

AWAL Will be Stand-Alone Artist Services Offering, Powered by The Orchard 

Independent Artists to Benefit from Investment and The Orchard’s Technology to Expand AWAL’s Geographic Reach and Services 

New York, NY – Sony Music Entertainment (SME) today announced  it has entered into a definitive agreement with Kobalt Music Group Ltd (Kobalt) to acquire  Kobalt’s recorded music operations, including AWAL, a leading provider of services to  independent recording artists, and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights, one of the leading  performance rights collection agencies for artists and independent labels worldwide.  

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. Lonny  Olinick will remain AWAL’s CEO. 

AWAL—created to provide global services to independent-minded artists, while offering  unique and flexible agreements—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.  Connecting AWAL with The Orchard rounds out SME’s expanded support and services  opportunities for record labels as well as DIY artists. 

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.