On a winter's afternoon, in a 23rd-floor officeoverlooking midtown Manhattan, Willard Ahdritz flops on a low leather sofa and opens his Dell laptop. Ahdritz is a tall, pale fellow with ice-blue eyes -- a Scandinavian phenotype befitting his native Sweden. He keeps a metal Viking helmet and a sheathed sword on his window sill.
"Musicians say there is no money in streaming," says Ahdritz, the founder and CEO of Kobalt Music Group, the most important music company you’ve never heard of. Squatting mantis-like, arms between his knees, he reaches over to the coffee table and taps on his laptop. "That’s what you know, isn’t it?" he says. "Well, that’s wrong." He pauses, staring out from his frameless glasses. "You see, someone has lied to them."