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

Artists Without A Label or AWAL is a 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's main service is digital music distribution, but also includes marketing, data analytics, radio, and synch licensing.


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 model[edit]

AWAL's artists keep their music and creative rights, unlike the traditional record label.[18][19]

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.[20]


In March 2017, AWAL introduced its music analytics app designed to collect and display data gleaned from each artist's presence on Spotify and Apple Music.[21]

Artist success[edit]

AWAL works with rising and established artists such as Lauv, who is known for his hit song, "I Like Me Better".


Record Labels[edit]


  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. ^ Lunny, Oisin. "Beyond 'The Hunger Games', The Disruptive Music Business Model Of AWAL". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  19. ^ "Can Kobalt's AWAL rewrite the rules of A&R?". Music Business Worldwide. 2018-07-09. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  20. ^ "Can Kobalt Disrupt the Label Game With AWAL?". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  21. ^ "Kobalt's AWAL Releases New App That Simplifies Streaming Data for Artists". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  22. ^ "Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away". AWAL. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  23. ^ Spotify goes AWAL and updates with 43,253 tracks[permanent dead link]
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External links[edit]