Downtown Lays Off Unspecified Number of Nashville Staffers After Concord Acquisition

Downtown Music Holdings Logo
Courtesy of Downtown Music Holdings

Just days after Downtown Music sold nearly 150,000 publishing copyrights to Concord, the company has laid off an unspecified number of staffers in its Nashville office.  Among the affected employees was executive VP Steve Markland, the highest-ranking member of the Nashville team; the news was first reported by Billboard.

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. The move reflects the company’s move out of copyright ownership to focus on music services, and also the fact that the lease in its Nashville office is up.

A rep for the company declined to provide the number of people let go or further details, but gave the following statement:

“As part of Downtown’s strategic shift towards music services, a limited number of job functions have been deemed redundant. Where possible, we are looking for opportunities to reassign impacted employees elsewhere within the organization or with other employers. We have decided to end our lease in our physical Nashville offices, which were designed primarily for creative operations, and explore our options to support the needs of our ongoing business. We continue to employ Nashville-based executives at Downtown Music Services, Songtrust, and Songspace.”

A source noted to Variety that the people let go worked primarily in areas that Downtown is moving away from. It is also worth noting that Concord’s main publishing offices are in Nashville, and Downtown’s statement suggests that some of the affected staffers could move over to that company along with the copyrights.

In Monday’s move, Downtown sold its 145,000 owned and co-published copyrights to an affiliate of the Concord music company. Included in the deal are songs popularized by Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Marvin Gaye, Mötley Crüe, New Order, Stevie Wonder, The 1975 and others, such as “Green Onions,” “Dancing In the Streets,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Moves Like Jagger,” “Halo,” “Stay With Me” and “Shallow.” Also included in the deal were a substantial number of J-pop and K-pop songs, as well as French hits.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but an industry source tells Variety the deal was in the mid-nine figures, in excess of $300 million and possibly significantly more. According to the announcement, proceeds from the catalog sale are being reinvested back into Downtown.