Downtown to make layoffs across various divisions (report)

Downtown Music Holdings is making a new round of layoffs at the independent rights management and music services firm.

The layoffs were reported by Billboard on Wednesday (March 22), citing Downtown CEO Andrew Bergman’s email to staff the same day.

The staff memo suggested that Downtown’s downsizing will mostly affect roles within Downtown’s CD Baby, Downtown Music Publishing, Songtrust and Downtown Music Holdings divisions.

Downtown is the parent company of Downtown Music Publishing, representing artists 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.

“Downtown’s management team has made the decision to reduce the size of our team in certain areas of the organization, specifically CD Baby, Publishing, Songtrust and DMH,” said Bergman in the memo shared with staff.

The memo did not confirm how many roles will be affected.

“Downtown’s management team has made the decision to reduce the size of our team in certain areas of the organization, specifically CD Baby, Publishing, Songtrust and DMH.”

Andrew Bergman, Downtown Music Holdings, in a staff memo on Wednesday (MArch 22)

Nearly two years ago, the wider Downtown group reduced its headcount in Nashville by an unspecified number following the company’s sale of 145,000 publishing copyrights to Concord for around $400 million.

Downtown said in the email cited by Billboard that the workforce reduction is part of the company’s reorganization, which it said “harmonizes the past several years of strategic investments and divestitures.”

The group made a number of acquisitions in the past years to boost its offerings. 

CD Baby joined the company in 2019 following Downtown’s $200 million acquisition of its parent company AVL Digital Group, whose portfolio also includes AdRev, DashGo and Soundrop. Less than a year later, Downtown acquired B2B music tech and services platform FUGA in a deal believed to be worth upwards of $40 million.

Most recently, Downtown bought London-headquartered music technology company Curve Royalty Systems in January and made strategic investments in companies like tech startup Vampr, dubbed as the ‘LinkedIn for Creatives,’ and artists financing platform Beatbread.

Bergman, in his email to staff, said Downtown will work to ensure that employees affected by the layoffs would be placed in other positions within the group.

On LinkedIn, Downtown still has open roles in its Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Mexico offices, while its unit FUGA is hiring a number of staff in Amsterdam, France, London and Berlin.

The reorganization will align the company’s talent, resources, technology and services “to meet the evolving needs of the music community while at the same time taking into account this period of economic uncertainty,” Bergman said in the memo.

The layoffs at Downtown suggests that the music industry is no exception to the wave of job reductions taking place globally.

Spotify, in January, said it is reducing its global headcount by 6%, while Utopia Music, in November, confirmed to MBW that it has made a number of layoffs.

Just this week, Twitch said it is cutting more than 400 roles as part of the widespread layoffs at its parent company, Amazon.

Music Business Worldwide