NEW YORK, April 26, 2021 - Following a strategic review of its business interests initiated in Q4 2020, Downtown Music Holdings (Downtown℠) announced that it will be focused exclusively on the fast-growing music services sector. To support the extraordinary growth of the independent music economy and the creators and businesses that rely on its platforms and services, the company is re-aligning its portfolio of distribution, rights management and promotional divisions. The first phase aligns Downtown Music Publishing® with the distribution and marketing capabilities of DashGo℠ to form Downtown Music Services, a new division. This news follows a separate announcement today that the company has divested its iconic portfolio of 145,000 owned music copyrights to Concord Music Group.
Across Downtown’s operating brands, the company currently manages more than 23 million music assets on behalf of more than 1 million creators and 2,500 enterprise clients, making it the largest pure-play service provider in the global music industry. Collectively, Downtown is projecting to generate over $600M from its music services businesses in 2021.
“Our strategic review confirmed a clear opportunity in the market for a truly neutral provider to meet the changing needs of creators and their partners. This is further evidenced by the strong performance and scale of Downtown’s service platforms and the global trends driving growth in the music industry,” said Downtown Founder and CEO Justin Kalifowitz. “The idea of serving creators has been core to Downtown’s ethos since our founding in 2007. Divesting our owned IP enables us to advance our position as the world’s leading music services provider, empower a rapidly expanding global creative class and, ultimately, is the most expedient way to help realize our vision of a more equitable music industry.”
The newly established Downtown Music Services will align the services of two of Downtown’s divisions, Downtown Music Publishing and DashGo. Leveraging technology from across the group, its offerings will include bespoke distribution, copyright management, creative marketing and financing solutions for premier songwriters and artists. With support from a dedicated global team, creators will be able to effectively manage their works, while retaining ownership and control.
Downtown Music Services will be led by Mike Smith, the respected industry veteran who joined Downtown last year as Global President of the company’s music publishing business. DashGo Founder and President Ben Patterson will assume the role of Chief Operating Officer with continued oversight over distribution, marketing and promotion.
"What drives me forward is empowering artists and songwriters to take control of their destiny. With the establishment of this new business unit, Downtown is enabling creatives to maintain ownership whilst still getting the access, resources and support of a global music company. Ben and I are both excited by the truly unique offering that combines our services, knowledge and expertise,” said Smith.
Patterson added, “Offering our artists and labels access to the global creative marketing, copyright management and sync services of Downtown in addition to our existing white glove distribution, promotion and financing capabilities creates a one-of-a-kind home for modern creators and their teams. Continuing to leverage technology from across Downtown, combined with our unique business model will provide a significant advantage to all of our clients for years to come.”
Downtown’s decision to focus exclusively on music services for creators and businesses at all stages follows several significant investments into the creator and label services sector. In recent years, Downtown has acquired CD Baby®, AdRev®, DashGo, Soundrop® (Q1 2019); FUGA℠ (Q1 2020); Simbals℠ (Q2 2020), and Found.ee℠ (Q1 2021). Last year the company also established Downtown Neighbouring Rights℠, a stand-alone business unit dedicated specifically to performance royalties that represents clients such as the Estate of Ella Fitzgerald and Justin Bieber. Additionally, its music publishing administration platform, Songtrust® has expanded its royalty collections to cover 145 countries, and now represents more than 3 million songs and more than 350,000 songwriters.
The rapid adoption of streaming services around the world, combined with more accessible and affordable technology, tools and services, is transforming the global music industry in profound ways. Beyond enabling creators of all kinds to approach their careers in a more entrepreneurial way, these platforms and services are helping to reimagine what it really means to be an “independent.” At the 2021 GRAMMY® Awards held last month, 52% of all winners were independent artists. Independent artists now represent 31% of total streams on Spotify, according to MIDiA, and, based on an analysis conducted by former Spotify Chief Economist Will Page recently published in the Financial Times, independents out-released major labels during 2020 at a ratio of 8 to 1. As streaming adoption continues, so does the volume and variety of music created, with more than 70 million songs spanning thousands of genres and 36 languages now available.
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about Downtown’s beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, and a number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. These factors include, but are not limited to, (i) local and global economic conditions, (ii) our anticipated growth strategies, (iii) legislative and industry trends, initiatives, and changes, and (iv) our future business development, results of operations and financial condition. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “project” “anticipate,” “target,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “potential,” “continue,” “is/are likely to” or other similar expressions. All information provided in this press release is as of the date of this press release, and Downtown undertakes no duty to update such information, except as required under applicable law.