Following Concord’s acquisition of Downtown Music’s 145,000 song publishing rights in April, Downtown has let go a number of its employees in Australia and New Zealand, including Rachel Kelly, who established the company’s outpost in Sydney some three-and-a-half-years ago.
“As part of Downtown’s strategic shift towards music services, a limited number of job functions have been deemed redundant,” a Downtown spokesperson tells Billboard, via a statement. “Where possible, we have reassigned impacted employees elsewhere within the organization.”
The ANZ region and the business’ “local clients continue to be of great importance and we are pleased to have expanded services that include distribution and promotion available to creators through Downtown Music Services,” the message continues.
An industry veteran with more than 18 years’ experience, Kelly joined the company in early 2018 as creative director and head of sync, covering Australia and New Zealand.
Previously, she served as creative director at BMG Australia, having joined the company as part of the acquisition of Alberts in 2016.
With Kelly at the helm, the Australasian company wasted no time. Homegrown artists Stella Donnelly, Little Quirks, Taka Perry, Elliot and John Butler Trio signed with the new affiliate, and Kelly was identified in Billboard’s International Power Players List for 2019.
It’s unclear how many staffers have been let go at the ANZ company. Those who have exited were primarily A&R and specifically involved with co-pub deals, sources say. Downtown continues to represent Australian artists with whom they have admin-only deals, and, going forward, it’s signing new writers, though not taking any stake in their copyrights or master recordings.
Back in April, Downtown announced it had 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. At the same time, the New York-based company announced its focus on being a multi-faceted service organization for unsigned artists and songwriters. In the first phase of its realignment, DashGo and Downtown Music Publishing were rebranded Downtown Music Services, with its first batch of signings and renewals announced in late June.