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A HOLIDAY MESSAGE FROM DOWNTOWN'S BOSS
12/22/20

HITS has obtained this holiday message from Downtown chief Justin Kalifowitz, distributed companywide along with a magical trail of pixie dust.

Dear Colleagues,

I have never been as proud of Downtown as I have been this year. Working alongside you, both in times of success and adversity, has been a remarkable gift and a source of inspiration for which I am grateful. Our collective achievements as a company would be extraordinary in any year, but especially so in one of the most challenging times in a generation.  

Here in New York City, we just experienced the magic of an early snowfall and like all of you, are watching as more and more people around the world receive the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. This miracle of nature and gift of science are just two examples of what we can all be thankful for this holiday season. In that spirit, I have been reflecting on this year at Downtown and thinking of everyone’s unique contributions.  

I would be remiss if I didn’t start by thanking our COVID-19 Task Force for devoting countless hours to meetings, researching, and problem-solving to ensure we were all informed and felt supported. The tireless work of this team has been remarkable in allowing our organization to smoothly and effortlessly work remote without skipping a bit. 

As part of our active work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, including new training programs, recruiting initiatives, community action and charitable giving, I am very pleased that we were able to launch our Employee Resource Group (ERG) program. I am especially grateful to all of those who have encouraged Downtown and the broader music industry to be and do better, especially Black Power in Music (BPM), our first ERG at Downtown.  

We are now nearly 600 strong in 23 cities across six continents, and we continue to widen our circle. To the almost 90 new hires who have endured their first months at Downtown virtually, I look forward to when we can finally meet in person. The same goes for our colleagues at FUGA in Amsterdam, Sheer in Johannesburg and Simbals in Bordeaux, we’re inspired to have you on the team.

After 13 years of running Downtown Music Publishing, I was delighted to turn things over to Mike Smith who joined us earlier this year as Global President, and what a year it’s been!  We’ve welcomed new clients such as Wu-Tang Clan, Fiona Apple and The 1975 and acquired catalogs by Motown legend Mickey Stevenson, songwriter Chris Braide, and Country music hitmaker Neil Thrasher.

 Looking at our broader music publishing businesses, Songtrust has been thriving in 2020, thanks in no small part to the leadership of Molly Neuman. She closes out her first full year as President of Songtrust, which now represents 300K+ writers, 2.6M copyrights, and is collecting royalties in 216 countries around the world. We’ve recruited world-class talent, developed new operating procedures and technologies and continue to uncover previously unclaimed royalties for songwriters and music publishers at all levels.

Social video and user generated content through services like TikTok have exploded during the pandemic and created a new channel for breaking songs and artists. YouTube growth has also continued largely unabated. And Downtown companies like AdRev and Soundrop have continued to provide monetization opportunities for artists and rights holders in these fast-growing categories.

With respect to independent artists, 2020 has truly been a breakthrough year for the sector. Every corner of the music industry is recognizing the explosive growth and growing importance of the millions of artists who are availing themselves of new technologies to create and share their music. Principle among them is CD Baby, led by newly appointed President, Joel Andrew. The company, which has long been a pioneer, has posted record results and seen significant adoption by a new generation of independent artists in places like India, Brazil and  Mexico who are using the platform to reach new audiences all around the world.

This has also been a banner year for our broader recorded music businesses at FUGA, DashGo and Downtown Neighbouring Rights who are increasingly a vital part of the global music ecosystem. Our teams are rolling out powerful new products and scalable tools to empower our clients in a modular and flexible way. Collectively, our companies are now servicing 23 million sound recordings, or 1 in 3 tracks on the major digital platforms around the world. 

At Downtown Music Holdings, we continue to develop a single, holistic platform to manage the most innovative businesses in the industry. As the only company providing services to creators at every stage of their career, Downtown enjoys a unique perspective on the new music industry paradigm. Our business model, which drives equity across the entire global music industry supply chain, is now widely recognized by our clients and competitors alike. As we look ahead, it is thanks to all of your efforts that we remain best positioned to support the trends transforming music for decades to come.

Of course, none of us would be doing what we do - day in, day out - without the incredible work of the clients we serve. Music is often a salve in challenging times, and for me this trying year has proven that beyond a doubt. To that end, if you need just one more song to help set the stage for 2021, please consider “Dancing In The Street.”

All we need is music, sweet music
There'll be music everywhere
There'll be swinging swaying records playing
Dancing in the street

Warmest wishes to you and yours,

Justin

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