Business

Downtown Lays Off Nashville Employees Following Concord Publishing Sale

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Following Concord’s acquisition of Downtown Music’s 145,000-song publishing copyrights on Monday, Downtown has let go a number of its Nashville employees, including executive vp A&R Steve Markland, who was the highest ranking staffer in the office.

"As part of Downtown's strategic shift towards music services, a limited number of job functions have been deemed redundant,” Downtown confirmed to Billboard in a statement. “Where possible, we are looking for opportunities to reassign impacted employees elsewhere within the organization or with other employers.”

Downtown declined to say how many employees were let go, though sources say it was the creative staffers involved in working with publishing the catalog sold to Concord.

Downtown's statement goes on to add that the company has ended the lease on its Nashville office and is exploring "our options to support the needs of our ongoing business. We continue to employ Nashville-based executives at Downtown Music Services, Songtrust, and Songspace.”

Downtown only sold the portion of its publishing catalog that it had an ownership stake in and not the songs and catalogs where it serves as administrator, including those of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Miles Davis, John Prine, the Wu-Tang Clan and others. The company will now focus on being a multi-faceted service organization for unsigned artists and songwriters, pledging a greater focus on its CD Baby, Songtrust, Fuga, Downtown Neighboring Rights, and DashGo business operations -- into which it says it will reinvest profits from the copyright sale. In the first phase of the company's realignment, DashGo and Downtown Music Publishing were rebranded Downtown Music Services.

‘Divesting our owned IP enables us to advance our position as the world's leading music service 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,” said Justin Kalifowitz, Downtown founder and CEO, in a statement about the sale on Monday.

Downtown will continue to manage global royalty collections for the copyrights sold to Concord through the end of 2021.

Concord's U.S. publishing headquarters are in Nashville and the company will likely be staffing up following the acquisition. Sources tell Billboard that anyone laid off from Downtown can apply for new positions.

Markland did not respond to immediate request for comment.

Assistance on this story provided by Ed Christman.