A Letter to the Downtown Community on Direct Licensing


With all that’s going on in the current environment, I wanted to reach out to our partners to update you and shed some light on our viewpoint with respect to direct licensing. As you well know, government regulation in the United States has become an increasing impediment to charging market value for our copyrights. One example of this is the continued imposition of World War 2 era “consent decrees” that have limited the ability of organizations such as ASCAP and BMI to negotiate fairly with third parties and in particular, the powerful digital service providers that have come to dominate the dissemination of our music across the world.

Furthermore, while the traditional role that PROs play in the value chain remains crucial, in many ways, a lack of innovation and cooperation in the industry at-large has resulted in unmatched uses, payment delays, and unnecessary processing fees for digital income. Accordingly, we believe that we can deliver a better result for songwriters by expanding our direct relationships between Downtown and digital music licensees to include performance income.

In addition to direct licenses, we have also developed the capacity to process these royalties ourselves. We are confident that our direct licensing efforts will result in accurate and faster payment to our clients.

To be clear, in these instances, the writer’s share received will flow directly to our clients and will not be used to recoup an outstanding publishing advance. If you prefer, the royalties can be directed to your PRO.

We strongly believe our songwriters deserve fair compensation for their work. This is not only achieved through more aggressive licensing strategies, but with real software that works at scale. With a full 25% of our staff dedicated to technology, we have developed a platform that is built for the challenges of today and the opportunities of tomorrow.

We will be sure to keep you informed as we continue to explore new and exciting ways to work with our songwriters and licensing partners. In the meantime, I welcome you to reach out to me or your direct Downtown contact to discuss in further detail.


Justin Kalifowitz
CEO, Downtown Music Publishing