Kobalt are an independent publishing company, who last year launched an artist and label services division with the aim of allowing artists to maintain ownership of their work, controlling when and where it is made available. The innovative deal will no doubt have been attractive to Prince, who has long waged a war with music industry convention in the name of artists’ rights. His dramatic decision to change his name to an unpronounceable symbol came about as a gambit to escape his contract with Warner and win back his mastertapes, but the Kobalt arrangement will give him a new level of control over his work. The company is understood to have pioneered software that allows artists to track who is streaming their work, and from where, giving them a greater chance of claiming royalty entitlements.
Kobalt President Richard Sanders said: “This new venture gives Prince the flexibility and freedom he’s always sought in a label partner. “We’re providing a high level of diverse services that will be particularly customised to his vision for each release, allowing the world to experience more music from Prince and his creative community.” Kobalt was founded in 2000 by Swedish businessman Willard Ahdritz. Its publishing roster includes Paul McCartney, Björk and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
The new deal was announced just hours after Prince, 54, was given a Billboard Icon award. After receiving the gong in Las Vegas, the singer performed a reworked version of his classic hit Let’s Go Crazy as well as debuting new single Fix Your Life Up. http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/videos/prince-billboard-music-awards-performance