Downtown Music Holdings has cemented its commitment to neighboring rights by establishing a brand-new division, Downtown Neighbouring Rights, which the company describes as a “stand-alone business unit dedicated specifically to performance royalties.” The division will be steered by Dean Francis, who has led neighboring rights collections for Downtown since joining the company in 2018 and who previously spent over a decade at U.K.-based neighboring rights collection society PPL.
According to a release, the new division is a natural outgrowth of increased client interest in Downtown’s existing neighboring rights capabilities via its publishing division, as well as FUGA, the Netherlands-based B2B music technology and services company it acquired in January via subsidiary AVL Digital Group. FUGA’s neighboring rights capabilities will be integrated into the new division throughout the rest of the year.
Downtown notes that a number of artists have already signed with the division to manage their neighboring rights administration, including Duff McKagan, Justin Bieber, Kimbra, Koffee, Nikki Sixx, OneRepublic, Ryan Tedder, Tori Amos and Young T & Bugsey.
Neighboring rights are distinct from performance rights in that the former pays out public performance royalties owed on the sound recording (to labels and performers) whereas the latter compensates publishers, composers and writers for the composition.
“With revenue from touring and live performance dramatically reduced, artists and record labels are bringing added scrutiny and focus to important income sources like neighbouring rights,” said Downtown executive vp of global business development Andrew Sparkler in a statement. “By centralizing the neighbouring rights expertise from across Downtown-owned companies into a single business unit, and with oversight by an executive with deep industry knowledge of the space, we can more efficiently support our clients who want the same kind of professional management and transparency available through other Downtown companies.”
Added Francis, “The comprehensive neighbouring rights management service that we’ve built is a part of the world-leading suite of end-to-end services that Downtown Music Holdings provides. We have a bespoke approach and a more involved relationship with our clients. Though our principal role is maximizing their neighbouring rights collection, we are also uniquely positioned to play a broader advisory role in their careers — utilizing our comprehensive understanding of publishing and distribution as well as the technological solutions that Downtown’s multifaceted portfolio of innovative businesses provides.”
Downtown has had a busy 2020. In addition to its FUGA acquisition in January, over the past month the company has acquired two independent publishers: South Africa-based Sheer Publishing and Good Soldier Songs Ltd, longtime home of The 1975.