Mike Smith is back in a top job.
The industry veteran has been named global president of Downtown Music Publishing. Smith left Warner Chappell earlier this year after almost four years as UK MD.
Effective September 1, 2020, Smith will assume day-to-day operations for the publishing division at Downtown. The popular and highly-rated exec will be based in London and report directly to Justin Kalifowitz, CEO of Downtown Music Holdings.
Smith is joining Downtown at a time of growth. It has recently launched a standalone neighbouring rights business unit, as well as acquiring South-Africa based Sheer Music Publishing. Earlier this year it acquired Fuga.
Downtown also pulled off an industry coup with the acquisition of independent London-based music publisher Good Soldier Songs, including an ongoing deal with The 1975 that covers songs from their recently released project, Notes on a Conditional Form, as well as the band’s back catalogue.
“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,” said Kalifowitz.
“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. For as long as I’ve been in the music industry, Mike has set the standard in cultivating strong relationships with some of the most influential songwriters, artists and producers, while also mentoring the next generation of global music executives.”
Smith said: “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.”
At Warner Chappell, Smith oversaw the signings of Liam Gallagher, Dave, J Hus, Celeste and Foals. Prior to joining Warner Chappell, he was MD of Columbia Records and president of music at Mercury Records and Virgin EMI. His past signings include Mark Ronson, Calvin Harris, Gorillaz, Damon Albarn, The White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys, and Arcade Fire. He has overseen deals with Iggy Azalea, Lizzo, Duke Dumont and The Chemical Brothers, among others.
Smith is a founding trustee of The Creative Society and a member of the Global Board of Trustees for In Place of War. Smith is also on the music board of Teenage Cancer Trust, and is currently volunteering as a motorbike courier with The Bike Shed Community Response during the Covid-19 pandemic delivering personal protective equipment (PPE) and respirators to those in need.
In addition, Smith is collaborating with Brian Eno to establish EarthPercent, a music industry charity supporting environmental sustainability organisations.