Google Ventures' new London arm is making its first investment by leading a $60 million Series C funding round for Kobalt, a music rights management services firm that could help the next Taylor Swift build wealth.
"The music industry is going through dynamic changes all around the world, and Kobalt will be instrumental in shaping its future positively for all constituents, starting with artists," Bill Maris, managing partner at Google Ventures, said in a release from Kobalt on Friday.
Founded in 2000 by Swedish entrepreneur Willard Ahdritz, the London-based Kobalt Music Group consolidates the traditionally layered music distribution system by providing services from global licensing management, royalty collection and processing to digital marketing and monetization, such as through Spotify.
"One song can have 700,000 royalty streams; one of them could be Vevo" with thousands of streams in itself, Ahdritz told CNBC. He spoke of "the tree of data" through which "one song could have billions of transactions."
The additional funds will allow the firm to double its investment in technological services to reach an audience of 1.5 billion, Ahdritz said. Kobalt also plans to expand into Latin American music with two new offices, one in Miami and another in Brazil, he said.
Casey Rae, Georgetown University communications professor and CEO of the Future of Music Coalition, said Kobalt has "demonstrated leadership around how the music industry can function with greater efficiency and transparency."
"From the perspective of a digital music service, you want your partners on the content side to have their house in order with regard to data and infrastructure," he said in an email. "On the content side, you want to have confidence that you're getting paid when your music is used on any platform around the world. And increasingly you want insights into not just what you're owed, but what that data means."