It was announced today that New York music company Downtown has sold 145,000 of their copyrights to a Concord affiliate. Due to several factors that Music Business Worldwide outlined (which are detailed below), it’s estimated that the catalog was sold to Concord for approximately $400 million.
A pitch deck that Downtown sent to investors recently showed net publishing share revenues of around $20 million for 2020. Other investors competing for Downtown’s catalog were told that the winner of the sale would have to pay 20 times the amount of Downtown’s net publishing shares, which places the sale at around $400 million if that information holds up to how the sale went down.
The trade transfers the entirety of the rights to Downtown’s publishing and co-publishing catalog once 2021 ends. Many high-profile artists had songs fully or partially owned by Downtown, including hits and deep cuts from artists such as Adele, Beyoncé, David Bowie, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Marvin Gaye, Sam Smith, Carrie Underwood, Stevie Wonder and the entire catalog of The 1975.
After this deal, Concord has brought their fully-owned or controlled music assets up to over 600,000 compositions and recordings. They had previously acquired Imagem in 2017 for $550 million, which they stated that they consider to be their most significant purchase. More recently, they bought Victory Records in 2019, claimed a majority stake in Pulse Music Group last January and purchased Imagine Dragons’ back catalog.
As for Downtown, they will switch their focus from copyright ownership to exclusively participating in the music services sector that they’ve been building influence in over the past few years. Although ownership will soon be a thing of the past for them, Downtown’s music servicing operations still see them managing over 23 million music assets on the behalf of more than a million artists and enterprise clients all over the world. To accomplish this, they own or work closely with operations including AdRev, CD Baby, DashGo, Downtown Music Publishing, Downtown Neighbouring Rights and Songtrust.
Now that they have sold their catalog, Downtown has also announced a new division called Downtown Music Services. It will be run by industry veteran and previous Downtown Music Publishing president Mike Smith.
Downtown Founder/CEO Justin Kalifowitz claims that their Concord deal makes them the largest “pure-play service provider.” He explains, “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. The idea of serving creators has been core to Downtown’s ethos since our founding in 2007.”
Speaking on the trade itself, Kalifowitz commented, “Concord is an excellent home for this extraordinary catalog that we’ve had the unique privilege to build over the past 14 years. Not only does Concord recognize the value of these works, but this transaction further demonstrates the true strength of the modern independent music sector.”
Concord’s Chief Publishing Executive Jim Selby added their side of the statement, “The incredible catalog of songs is an excellent complement to the timeless and valuable copyrights upon which Concord has built a successful business. Our global publishing team is honored to now represent these songwriters and their works to the world.”
The firm Barron International Group, led by Lisbeth R. Barron, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Concord on this transaction. They’ve worked together over the last four years, with Barron’s firm providing advisement on more than six transactions including the purchase of Imagem in 2017.