Kobalt Intro:

​Kobalt is one of the world’s largest, most innovative music companies, using technology to power creative freedom, transparency, ownership and control for artists, songwriters, publishers, and labels. 

Founded in 2000 by Swedish entrepreneur Willard Adhitz, the startup built a platform to maximize efficiency, accuracy, and transparency across the billions of micro-payments collected in today’s highly complex digital world. As the traditional music companies fought technology and contracted, Kobalt embraced it and grew, building an infrastructure and world-class creative team purposely designed to usher in the streaming era, along with a more fair, rewarding music business for creators. Our technology enables them to access royalty payments 4x faster while also maximising the royalty collection amounts.

With over 400 employees in 12 offices around the world, Kobalt today represents over 31,000 artists and songwriters, 700,000 songs and 600 publishing companies. Kobalt is proud to work with artists, songwriters, and companies like Childish Gambino, Max Martin, Paul McCartney and MPL Communications, Disney Music Group, and many more. 

Context: 

​​Kobalt continues to grow 3x faster than the market and as such has a continuous focus on scaling out its systems, products and services to cope with the increasing demand. One of the key opportunities for Kobalt is to address the masses of songwriters that are reasonably early in their careers and as such struggle to get representation from strong publishers. As most publishers depend on primarily manual processes, the cost of service usually outweighs the revenue potential that those songwriters would generate. Through technology, Kobalt aims to reduce the cost of service for each individual songwriter, making it viable to support large numbers of songwriters at a marginal cost.

As part of that journey, Kobalt is looking to hire its Director of Engineering in Ireland to bootstrap a new site in the midwest (preferably in Galway or Limerick), whilst working alongside a peer group of senior technologists and business leaders on a mission to change the way that musicians and artists are represented in the music industry. The key functional focus will initially be on the Catalogue area, which focuses on catalogue management and licensing. 

This is a unique opportunity to be hands-on with both the teams and the technology, whilst bootstrapping a new site to expand the technology team primarily based in London with a combination of remote and hybrid working models.

What does the Catalogue area look like?

  • As Kobalt represents and manages the rights for thousands of musical works worldwide, we maintain, enhance and transform the tools and systems that enable us to manage our Catalogue. That boils down to onboarding songwriters and works (both on new releases and historical), managing complex licensing agreements, augmenting our metadata and registering our catalogue with music entities across the world to ensure songwriters and publishers can monetise their intellectual property.
  • There are currently 2 teams within the Catalogue area, with 10 engineers and 2 products managers. One team focuses primarily on catalogue management and registration, whilst the other has built a scalable query engine that supports our royalty processing efforts, dealing with billions of requests per accounting period.
  • We expect that the area will grow in order to accelerate the transformation of our technical stack and business processes, and to continue to lead within the music industry and embrace the constant change in a complex domain.

Tech Stack:

  • We are on a journey to transform our legacy tech stack that was originally based on a Java and Oracle monolith to a cloud native service architecture.
  • New services are AWS-hosted, primarily developed in Java, taking advantage of Kubernetes for container orchestration, Terraform for infrastructure-as-code, Datadog for monitoring and alerting, amongst others.
  • We favour AWS-managed services, such as RDS and MSK over self-hosted solutions.

Recent Projects:

  • Chain of Title: we rebuilt a core part of our legacy monolith in a modern cloud native service architecture, dealing with billions of requests a year, to determine the ownership structure of any musical work that we need to process throughout our rights management and royalty processing pipeline. That included replication of data to an AWS-based data store, integration with Kafka based consumers and performance optimisation.
  • On-premise to cloud migration: we have rebuilt a number of services involved in metadata enrichment that were previously hosted on-premise and were refactored to run as cloud native services.
  • Metadata enrichment: we built a number of services to allow us to enrich musical work metadata with industry standard identifiers that help maximise the royalties value of said works.

What you will bring:

  • A track record of managing, growing and improving engineering organisations in complex businesses.
  • Extensive system and architecture knowledge of cloud native services, experience in solving the most complex and difficult software engineering problems, and you’ll contribute to setting technical strategy for both function and across organisation.
  • Solid problem solving skills allowing you to support and/or take the lead as required in defining our tech strategy, ensuring appropriate staffing, identifying process inefficiencies, improving culture and maximising impact of the department in the business as a whole.
  • Strong emotional intelligence, empathy and an inclusive approach that allows you to foster diversity and inclusion, instil great ways of working and enabling your team to maximise their potential.
  • A no-blame attitude and an understanding of the role of failure, learning and quick iteration in developing individuals and organisations.
  • The curiosity to dive deep into a new complex business domain and understand it rapidly, whilst having the creativity and vision to be able to set direction for the area.
  • Accountability for ensuring business needs and technical needs are met, in particular balancing when to accept and when to address technical debt.
  • An inspiring presence that will galvanise the teams and colleagues around you.
  • Active role in promoting Kobalt’s brand by attending and being involved in events and networking.

What does success look like:

  • You’re able to move the needle both on the engineering goals as well business. You’re able to help build a high performing engineering capability for your area, hiring, growing & retaining great people and instilling great ways of working.
  • You’ll accrue substantial knowledge of how the industry operates and become a lighthouse for the engineering teams & peers around you.
  • You’ll use your ability to influence across functions and reporting lines to drive greater impact in our technology and operational teams.
  • You’ll drive change outside of your immediate areas of responsibility, helping improve business processes and tools.
  • You’re able to act as a problem solver and advisor at scale across the business on matters where technology can have a positive multiplier effect.
  • You’ll drive the building of a tech hub in Ireland, helping Kobalt expand its presence and attract excellent talent.
  • You’ll enable your team to reach their potential, by improving their craft, deliver high quality products, and develop themselves as leaders and engineers. 

What do we offer:

  • Salary Range: Discuss with the Talent Partner. 
  • Flexible working. KTech operates with a hybrid working policy (fully remote possible). 
  • 25 days annual. 
  • 1 well being day per quarter.  
  • Half day summer Fridays (July and August). 
  • Christmas closure.
  • Meeting free Fridays afternoon outside of the summer months. We use this as dedicated learning time. 
  • Matching pension contribution. 
  • Health Insurance. 

Interview Process and our commitments to you:

  1. Recruiter Call (30mins)
  2. Hiring Manager Call (60 mins) 
  3. Technical leadership presentation (90 mins)
  4. Technical interview (60 mins) 
  5. Cultural interview(45mins) 
  • We are committed to completing the process in 2 working weeks and are willing to be flexible to meet the candidates requirements. 
  • We are also committed to providing feedback on each interview no longer than 24hrs after the interview via email, telephone call or ZOOM.

 

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