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AWAL is a British distribution company and record label with its headquarters in London, UK. Acquired by Kobalt Music in December 2011, AWAL is Kobalt’s recordings company. The company serves as an alternative to the traditional music label deal, offering deal structures to artists and independent labels without them giving up ownership or control.[1]

AWAL logo.svg
Parent companyKobalt Music Group
Founded1997 (1997)
FounderKevin Bacon
Jonathan Quarmby
Country of originUnited Kingdom
LocationLondon, United Kingdom



AWAL represents artists and independent labels at all stages of their careers. The company offers a range of services, which include digital distribution, global marketing, release management, funding, playlist promotion, data analytics, radio, A&R, synch licensing, and YouTube monetization.


In December 2011, AWAL was acquired by the Kobalt Music Group and operated as the company’s digital music distribution arm. AWAL was originally founded in 1997 by record producers Kevin Bacon and Jonathan Quarmby.[2]

In January 2018, Lonny Olinick was named CEO of Kobalt's recording division.[3] By March 2018, Kobalt announced it was investing $150 million into AWAL and that all of Kobalt's recording business will be combined under the AWAL brand.[4] AWAL acquired In2une Music in June 2018, which provides multi-format radio promotion to independent labels and artists.[5] AWAL announced a strategic partnership with independent label, Glassnote Records, in November 2018.[6] Other notable announcements from the company include signing artists such as You Me At Six,[7] Austin Burke,[8] deadmau5,[9] Little Simz,[10] The Night Cafe,[11] Kevin Garrett,[12] Gabrielle Aplin,[13] Gus Dapperton,[14] and Ella Vos.[15]

In November 2018, AWAL was named to Billboard's 2018 Digital Power Players - Music Groups list.[16]

AWAL has offices in London, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Berlin, Hong Kong, Miami, Nashville, Stockholm, Sydney. In December 2018, AWAL announced it was opening an office in Toronto.[17]

Business modelEdit

AWAL is a service-based company and offers independent artists and labels complete ownership of their master recording rights. In November 2018, Billboard wrote an article titled, "Can Kobalt Disrupt the Label Game With AWAL?," outlining the company's approach and how it pays out as much as 80 percent of streaming revenue to its artists.[18]

According to a November 2018 Forbes story on AWAL, "The business model behind AWAL is a significant pivot on the traditional ‘lock-in’ music label deal in which a financial advance and ongoing support are agreed in return for as much control of an artist’s recorded repertoire and associated revenues as can be negotiated, for as long as possible. In contrast, the typical AWAL deal offers artists and independent labels a modular range of services without having to give up ownership or control."[19]

"When it comes to A&R and artist discovery, however, AWAL does things slightly differently," Music Business Worldwide wrote in July 2018. "It’s a model which could eventually force major labels to adapt their game – in the same way that Kobalt’s tech-led publishing revolution coerced the major publishers into getting with the times." [20]


In March 2017, AWAL introduced its music analytics app designed to collect and display data gleaned from each artist's presence on the two leading streaming services in the business, Spotify and Apple Music.[21] With the app, artists, labels, and managers would be able to delve into which songs and albums of theirs were being played and engaged with the most, which playlists their songs were being added to on each service, demographic information -- gender, location, age range, even time of day broken out by service -- about listening habits, and a real time chart that tallies up their to-date royalties from streams on each platform.

Artist successEdit

AWAL works with rising artists such as Lauv, who today has amassed over 1.5 billion streams for his hit song, "I Like Me Better" to arena acts such as Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.[22]

Notable artistsEdit

Record LabelsEdit


  1. ^ "Can Kobalt Disrupt the Label Game With AWAL?". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  2. ^ Lindvall, Helienne. "Behind the music: Awal keeps digital royalties from going awol". Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  3. ^ "Kobalt Appoints Lonny Olinick to Recording Division CEO". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  4. ^ "Kobalt Boosts Its AWAL Brand With $150M Investment, Seeks 100 New Hires". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  5. ^ "Kobalt's AWAL acquires radio promo company in2une". Music Business Worldwide. 2018-06-07. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  6. ^ "Glassnote Music Announces Partnership With Kobalt Music's AWAL". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  7. ^ "'They embody the spirit of what we're trying to do': You Me At Six launch own label imprint, partner with AWAL". Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  8. ^ "AWAL signs deal with rising country star Austin Burke". Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  9. ^ "deadmau5 Signs New Worldwide Deal With AWAL: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  10. ^ ""There's huge opportunity for her globally": AWAL announces worldwide partnership deal with Little Simz". Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  11. ^ "AWAL extends recordings deal with The Night Café and signs Little Simz". Music Business Worldwide. 2018-09-11. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  12. ^ "AWAL Signs Kevin Garrett to Worldwide Recording Deal". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  13. ^ "'It's an exciting time to be an independent artist': Gabrielle Aplin signs with AWAL". Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  14. ^ "He's as creative and authentic as they come': AWAL signs Gus Dapperton". Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  15. ^ "AWAL inks global recordings deal with singer/songwriter Ella Vos & Hwyl Records". Music Business Worldwide. 2018-12-13. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  16. ^ "Revealed: Billboard's 2018 Digital Power Players". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  17. ^ "AWAL expands into Canada with new Toronto office". Music Business Worldwide. 2018-12-11. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  18. ^ "Can Kobalt Disrupt the Label Game With AWAL?". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  19. ^ Lunny, Oisin. "Beyond 'The Hunger Games', The Disruptive Music Business Model Of AWAL". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  20. ^ "Can Kobalt's AWAL rewrite the rules of A&R?". Music Business Worldwide. 2018-07-09. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  21. ^ "Kobalt's AWAL Releases New App That Simplifies Streaming Data for Artists". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  22. ^ "'The World's Premier Alternative Icon': How Nick Cave Became an Arena Act in North America". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  23. ^ "Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away". AWAL. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  24. ^ Spotify goes AWAL and updates with 43,253 tracks
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External linksEdit