Downtown Music Holdings

Music Publisher, Record Label

Downtown Music Holdings (DMH) is the parent group of Downtown’s music operations.

Downtown made its name as a music publisher, founded by Justin Kalifowitz in New York in 2007.

These days, Downtown Music Holdings operates as the parent company for Downtown Music Publishing, in addition to Downtown Neighbouring Rights, plus publishing admin service Songtrust. Kalifowitz is CEO of Downtown Music Holdings.

In publishing, Downtown represents talent/catalogs such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Booker T. Jones, George Gershwin, Miles Davis, Hans Zimmer, John Prine, Ryan Tedder, Benny Blanco and Jimmy Napes.

One of the largest modern independent music publishing companies, in June 2020, Downtown Music Publishing named ex-Warner Chappell exec, Mike Smith, as its Global President, reporting to  Kalifowitz.


Downtown acquisitions

Downtown is the parent of CD Baby and its own parent, AVL, which Downtown acquired for around $200m in March 2019.

In May 2019, Downtown acquired from the management team of [PIAS] more than 10,000 song copyrights across multiple languages and genres via the Strictly Confidential music publishing catalog. 

In January 2020, Downtown also acquired artist and label services company FUGA for a pricetag which sources suggest was worth upwards of $40m.

As a result of these acquisitions and other organic signings, Downtown claims to manage “the single largest independent sound recording catalog in the industry” – helped by the fact that CD Baby is home to almost 750,000 artists.

In May 2020, Downtown acquired UK music publisher, Good Soldier Songs, for an undisclosed fee. This deal included the back catalog of The 1975.


Justin Kalifowitz op/ed

In an op/ed for Music Business Worldwide in 2019, Justin Kalifowitz said: “As labels and DSPs look to expand how they monetize music videos, publishers should negotiate for on-screen songwriter credit as an important element of these agreements.

“For services with artist and label portals, we should be working hand-in-hand to develop integrations that enable the distribution of lyrics, songwriter bios, photos, social media and other information that can be displayed in-app alongside corresponding recordings.”

He added: “In an era where song copyrights are more important than ever, companies interested in measuring impact should consider not only the success of a single recording pushed by one particular label, but rather the extraordinary impact of hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of professional and UGC covers, foreign language adaptations, lyric videos and music instructionals that pay homage to our clients’ words and music. This collective global engagement would be a far more accurate measure of the most impactful song in the world.”Music Business Worldwide

Downtown Music Holdings In The News

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