Mike Smith has been named global president of Downtown Music Publishing, a newly-created position. Smith will officially assume the role on Sept. 1 out of the company’s London office, directly reporting to Downtown Music Holdings CEO Justin Kalifowitz.
Smith was most recently managing director at Warner Chappell Music in the U.K., where he oversaw the signings of Liam Gallagher, Dave, J Hus, Celeste and Foals. Before that, he was managing director of Columbia Records and president of music at Mercury Records and Virgin/EMI. Over the course of his career, he has signed Mark Ronson, Calvin Harris, Gorillaz, Damon Albarn, The White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire and has overseen deals with Iggy Azalea, Lizzo, Duke Dumont and The Chemical Brothers, among others.
“Since its founding in 2007, we’ve carefully built Downtown Music Publishing, writer by writer, guided by an appreciation for the craft of songwriting, a focus on creative partnership, and a belief that a global music company for the modern era should be rooted in an understanding that the song is a foundational element to everything else in the music business. The addition of Mike Smith as global president of Downtown Music Publishing is in complete alignment with these principles and I know under Mike’s stewardship our publishing business is in the best of hands,” said Kalifowitz in a statement.
In addition to his work as an executive, Smith is a founding trustee of The Creative Society and a member of the global board of trustees for In Place of War. He also serves on the music board of Teenage Cancer Trust and currently volunteers as a motorbike courier with The Bike Shed Community Response, which delivers personal protective equipment and respirators to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is now partnering with Brian Eno to set up EarthPercent, a music industry charity that will support environmental sustainability organizations.
Added Smith, “Since my first job in the music industry I have been guided by my underlying love for artists and songwriters. I thoroughly enjoyed the years I spent on the recordings side of the business, but music publishing is where my heart is. Downtown’s ability to build a formidable, twenty-first century music publishing company unencumbered by the baggage of the past has made them an impressive and compelling proposition for songwriters and composers, and I am delighted to become part of their vision.”
Last week, Downtown announced Downtown Neighbouring RightsSM, a new standalone business unit dedicated to performance royalties. In May, the company expanded into Africa with the acquisition of Sheer Publishing Africa. It also recently purchased Good Soldier Songs, the London-based publisher and longtime home of The 1975.