Artists Without a Label (AWAL)
Artists Without a Label (
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Artists Without a Label (AWAL)

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Artists Without a Label (AWAL)

Artists Without a Label (AWAL)

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Description

Artists Without a Label (AWAL) is a British music distribution company owned by Sony Music Entertainment. 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. In February 2021, Sony Music Entertainment announced the acquisition of AWAL with a pending regulatory approval. The deal was completed in May 2021.

Services

AWAL's main service is digital music distribution, but also includes marketing, physical distribution, data analytics, radio, and synchronization licensing. AWAL's artists keep their music and creative rights, unlike the traditional record label. 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. In March 2017, AWAL introduced its music analytics app designed to collect and display data from an artist's presence on Spotify and Apple Music.

History

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

In January 2018, Lonny Olinick was named CEO of Kobalt's recording division. 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. AWAL acquired In2une Music in June 2018, which provides multi-format radio promotion to independent labels and artists. AWAL announced a strategic partnership with independent label, Glassnote Records, in November 2018. Other notable announcements from the company include signing artists such as You Me At Six, Austin Burke, deadmau5, Little Simz, The Night Cafe, Kevin Garrett, Gabrielle Aplin, Gus Dapperton, and Ella Vos.

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

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.

On September 7, 2021, the Competition and Markets Authority, the United Kingdom's antitrust regulator, raised concerns that Sony's purchase of AWAL would reduce competition from other distributors. The CMA gave Sony and AWAL five days to address the CMA's concerns and offer legally binding remedies, or else the CMA would enter a Phase 2 investigation. The phase two investigation was launched on September 16, 2021.

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