Draft:Willard Ahdritz

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Willard Ahdritz
Born
Willard Bengt Anders Ahdritz

26 September 1964
Örebro, Sweden
ResidenceNew York
NationalitySwedish
Alma materHandelshögskolan i Stockholm, New York University Stern School of Business
OccupationFounder and CEO of Kobalt
EmployerEntrepreneur
Known forAdvocate for accountability and transparency in the music industry. Founder of Kobalt Music Group

Willard Ahdritz is a Swedish-born entrepreneur and music industry executive. He is the founder and CEO of Kobalt Music Group.

Education[edit]

Ahdritz grew up in Ekeby Almby, a small community outside Örebro, Sweden.[1]

He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from Rudbecksskolan, Orebro,[2]and later received a degree in Accounting from the Stockholm School of Economics, including a scholarship to NYU's Stern School of Business, where he earned his Master's degree in Accounting.[3]

Career[edit]

Ahdritz's music career began in the Stockholm pop music scene of the 1980s. In 1987 he, along with Klas Lunding, co-founded Telegram Records and Publishing, a Stockholm-based record label and publishing company.[4]Ahdritz soon became frustrated by what he perceived as the major record label's control over the industry, including control of global distribution networks, promotions and radio airplay. He didn't see a way that Telegram could grow into a larger business. He left the company in 1991 to attend business school. His partner Lunding sold Telegram to Warner Music Sweden two years later.[5]

After graduation from Stern, Ahdritz moved to London, where he worked for seven years at L.E.K. Consulting, which specialized in corporate strategy, along with mergers and acquisitions.[6][7]During his eight-year tenure at L.E.K., two projects rekindled his interest in the music industry. The first was developing a complex database for British Airways which would track passengers, flights and baggage. The second involved helping British Telecom with the rollout of multi-feature mobile phones.[8]

Ahdritz left L.E.K. and became the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kobalt Music Group, Ltd. in 2000. From his experiences at L.E.K., Ahdritz developed the two cornerstones of Kobalt Music. First, the shift to digital music could enable a transformation in the way royalties are tracked and paid, second, music streaming would create a growing middle class of DIY musicians who could successfully exploit niche music genres.[9]

Ahdritz is also a fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).[10] In 2019, he was listed in Billboard magazine's Power 100, an annual ranking of the recording industry's most influential leaders.[11]


Public Speaking[edit]

Ahdritz has been a keynote speaker, panelist and guest speaker at a number of conventions and media events. Among them are:

  • All That Matters, September 13-18, 2019, Singapore[12]
  • NY:LON, January 23-24, 2018, New York City[13][14]
  • Bloomberg TV, May 9, 2018[15]
  • Collision Conference, May 2-4, 2017, New Orleans LA[16]
  • Amplify 17, October 6-8 2017, London[17]
  • Future of Music Policy Summit, October 26-27, 2015 Washington D.C.[19]
  • Midem, January 26-29, 2013, Cannes, France[21]
  • Rethink Music, April 22-24 2012, Boston MA [22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sara Lindmark (November 17, 2017). "Willard Ahdritz: "Folk kallade mig idiot när jag startade Kobalt"". Breakit. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  2. ^ "Tim Ingham & Willlard Ahdritz in Conversation". BBC Music. October 2017. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  3. ^ "Executive Profile Willard Ahdritz". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  4. ^ Sara Lindmark (November 17, 2017). "Willard Ahdritz: "Folk kallade mig idiot när jag startade Kobalt"". Breakit. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  5. ^ Eric Peckham (August 9, 2019). "How a Swedish saxophonist built Kobalt, the world's next music unicorn The Kobalt EC-1, Part I: Founding Story and Overview". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  6. ^ Kevin Gray (May 1, 2015). "Kobalt changed the rules of the music industry using data – and saved it". Wired. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  7. ^ Sara Lindmark (November 17, 2017). "Willard Ahdritz: "Folk kallade mig idiot när jag startade Kobalt"". Breakit. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  8. ^ Eric Peckham (August 9, 2019). "How a Swedish saxophonist built Kobalt, the world's next music unicorn The Kobalt EC-1, Part I: Founding Story and Overview". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  9. ^ Eric Peckham (September 11, 2019). "How Kobalt is simplifying the killer complexities of the music industry:The Kobalt EC-1, Part II". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-09-30.
  10. ^ "Executive Profile Willard Ahdritz". Bloomberg. October 17, 2007. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  11. ^ Billboard Staff (February 7, 2019). "Billboard's 2019 Power 100 List Revealed". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-10-01.
  12. ^ Music Press Asia Staff (August 6, 2019). "All That Matters Announced Music Conference Program". Music Press Asia. Retrieved 2019-10-01.
  13. ^ Stuart Dredge (January 24, 2018). "Kobalt CEO blasts 'elitist' concerns about music as background listening". Music Ally. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  14. ^ "Willard Ahdritz". Sched. January 20, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  15. ^ Emily Chang (May 9, 2018). "How Kobalt is Transforming the Music Industry". Bloomberg TV. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  16. ^ Gady Epstein (Apr 10, 2018). "Kobalt's plan to regrow the music industry". Collision Conference. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  17. ^ "Tim Ingham & Willlard Ahdritz in Conversation". BBC Music. October 2017. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  18. ^ "MUSIC SUMMIT: Willard Ahdritz - Visions For The Future". Canadian Music Week. Jun 16, 2015. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  19. ^ "Future of Music Policy Summit". Future Music Newsletter. August 2015. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  20. ^ Cadie Thompson (November 7, 2014). "Spotify is now making some artists more than iTunes". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  21. ^ "Conversation: Willard Ahdritz, Kobalt Music Group - Midem 2013". midem\access-date=2019-06-17. Feb 6, 2013.
  22. ^ David M Ross (March 22, 2012). "Rethink Music". Music Row. Retrieved 2018-11-09.

External Links[edit]

"Turning Publishing Upside-Down: Why Willard Ahdridtz's Strategies are Working, and why his Kobalt Music is the Future" (PDF).

Category:Living people Category:1964 births Category:Swedish businesspeople Category:Swedish company founders Category:American music industry executives Category:American music managers Category:American chief executives Category:American media company founders Category:American computer businesspeople Category:American computer programmers Category:21st-century American businesspeople Category:American technology company founders Category:American technology chief executives Category:Businesspeople from New York City Category:Businesspeople from New York (state) Category:British music industry executives Category:Stern School of Business alumni