Kobalt leveraged challenges and gaps existing within the music industry, such as the absence of an
up-to-date efficient global mechanism for royalty payments and concerns about transparency, to
build its organization. Founded in 2000, Kobalt grew exponentially, becoming the fifth largest
music publisher in the world. However, profitability has remained elusive, threatening the survival
of the company as a sustainable business. The company situation is addressed utilizing strategic
and financial analysis tools, and recommendations are proposed.
This is a case designed for the early stages of a music business course, with a focus on direct-to-fan strategies as demonstrated by PledgeMusic. Students will explore the fan base PledgeMusic caters to, as well as PledgeMusic’s business model and marketing strategies. Students will be expected to position this innovative startup in the music and crowdfunding landscapes, recommend next steps for the company’s expanding business model, and strategize how to implement their recommendation.