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Music News (4/28/21)

[ 0 ] April 28, 2021 | |

Songwriters Fund To Roll Out New Wave Of Relief

Last summer, as COVID-19 created economic hardship for creatives everywhere, a group of songwriters created the Songwriter Fund to offer financial assistance to songwriters.

This initiative was launched with resources from Songwriters of North America (SONA) and Sony Music Publishing, amongst other private and corporate donations. The Songwriter Fund is directed by an all-woman team of acclaimed songwriters, including Autumn Rowe and Michelle Featherstone with management by Sarah Robertson.

“Everything dried up all at once for the songwriting community: royalties from streaming, as well as the ability to do gig work or be a session player,” says Featherstone. “We were talking to fellow songwriters who were asking, ‘How will I pay this month’s rent? How will I buy groceries? Will I ever work again?’”

“The Songwriter Fund is a resource for our community when there are no other options,” says Rowe. “Many writers who ran out of options received grants, and we were really grateful to help. I’d like the Songwriter Fund to feel like that friend who always has your back. Because there is so little overhead in our organization, the most possible money goes out to songwriters.”

So far, the Songwriter Fund has distributed over $400,000 in grants to songwriters who have been hit hardest by closures during the pandemic. With the repercussions of the pandemic continuing to impact the music industry, the fund is still accepting donations as it gears up to provide its most recent round of relief to songwriters.

Applications will open April 28. To learn more about the fund or to donate, visit

Josh Hoge Signs With Kane Brown’s Verse 2 Music

Pictured (top row): Josh Hoge; (L-R, middle row): Rusty Gaston, Kent Earls; (bottom row): Kane Brown

Josh Hoge has signed a global publishing deal with Kane Brown‘s Verse 2 Music.

Hoge has penned chart-topping hits including Chris Young’s “I’m Comin’ Over” and “Think of You,” and Kane Brown’s “Cool Again,” “Used To Love You Sober,” and “One Thing Right” with Marshmello. He has received numerous honors for his songwriting, including SESAC’s Songwriter of the Year award in 2016; a Grammy nomination for Young’s “Think of You;” a CMA award nomination for Young’s “I’m Comin’ Over;” and several RIAA multi-Platinum certifications.

Hoge is the first songwriter to sign with the new venture, which was recently launched in partnership with Sony Music Publishing by Brown and music industry veteran Kent Earls. With the establishment of Verse 2 Music, Kane and Earls aim to discover and develop emerging country hitmakers.

“Josh is just a great guy and an incredible songwriter,” says Brown. “He is one of the first songwriters I ever wrote with in Nashville and I’m really excited he’s part of the team.”

“Josh is a proven hitmaker who is writing at the top of his game. We are so proud to partner with Verse 2 Music to wave his flag,” says Sony Music Publishing Nashville CEO, Rusty Gaston.

Earls, Partner, Verse 2 Music adds, “Josh has been involved in Kane’s writing career with great success from the beginning, and he has only scratched the surface of his career as a hitmaker. When the opportunity arose for him to become our first signed writer, the answer was a resounding YES. Welcome to the V2 family, Josh!”

“Kane and I wrote ‘Used To Love You Sober’ the first day we met back in 2015, and since then we have never stopped creating,” says Hoge. “Kent and I have also worked together, and I was hoping to get that opportunity again. I’m honored to be the first writer signed to Verse 2—I want to be known as a fearless, versatile writer, and with Kane, Kent, and Rusty, I can be myself and create exactly the way I want.”

Big Machine Music Adds Tim Hunze As Vice President Of Publishing

Tim Hunze

Big Machine Music adds Tim Hunze as Vice President of Publishing, whose career spans nearly three decades in Nashville’s music publishing community.

His experience includes work with current hitmakers and hall of fame inductees such as Jordan Davis, Kip Moore, Chris Janson, Joey Hendricks, Justin Wilson, Tom Shapiro and Tony Martin, among others. Notably, Hunze managed Bobby Pinson (2009 BMI Songwriter of the Year) and Brett James (2009 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year). His previous stops include Anthem Entertainment, Parallel Entertainment, Stage Three Music and legendary publisher Hamstein Music.

“Tim’s name is synonymous with the best of Nashville music publishing,” says BMM General Manager Mike Molinar. “Not only does he fit our work ethic, vision and advocacy for songwriters, his addition complements Big Machine Music’s stellar team and allows us to stay service-minded to our songwriters as we continue to grow.”

Pictured (L-R): Sr. Director of Royalties and Finance Grayson Stephens, Vice President Alex Heddle, Creative Director Michelle Attardi, Vice President Tim Hunze, Creative Coordinator Lizzy Gallatin, General Manager Mike Molinar, Catalog Manager Taylor Courtney. Photo: Courtesy of Big Machine Music

A graduate of MTSU’s Recording Industry program and a member of Leadership Music’s Class of 2013, Hunze currently serves on the board of the Association of Independent Music Publishers and as the host for their AIMP Nashville: Pubcast.

Hunze shares, “when Mike approached me about the possibility of working together at Big Machine Music, I was honored that he’d consider me to join his already amazing team. I feel like I’m joining the all-star team! I can’t wait to see what we can do joining forces.”

Hunze can be reached

Concord Acquires Downtown Music Publishing’s Owned Copyright Catalog

Downtown Music Publishing has sold its portfolio of 145,000 owned and co-published music copyrights to a Concord affiliate. The copyrights included in the transaction were developed or acquired by Downtown over the past 14 years and bring Concord’s owned and controlled music assets to over 600,000 works. As part of the transaction, Downtown will continue to manage global royalty collection for the copyrights included in the sale through the end of 2021.

Among the works acquired by Concord are songs popularized by Adele, Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Blake Shelton, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, the Grateful Dead, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Maroon 5, Marvin Gaye, Mary J. Blige, Mos Def, Mötley Crüe, New Order, Rage Against the Machine, Ray Charles, Santigold, Sam Smith, Stevie Wonder, and The 1975 among many others. Iconic songs such as “Green Onions,” “Dancing In the Streets,” “Runaway,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Change the World,” “Moves Like Jagger,” “Halo,” “Stay With Me” and “Shallow” are all included in the transaction.

This is Concord’s latest acquisition and its most significant since its purchase of Imagem in 2017, underscoring Concord’s longtime leadership position in the acquisition of music and theater assets. Lisbeth R. Barron and her firm Barron International Group acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Concord on both transactions, as well as half a dozen more.

Downtown’s decision to divest its owned copyright portfolio follows a strategic review of its business interests initiated in Q4 2020. As a result of that process, Downtown has decided to focus exclusively on the fast-growing music services sector to support the extraordinary growth of the independent music economy, as well as the creators and entrepreneurial businesses that rely on its platforms and services. As the global music industry’s largest pure-play service provider, Downtown manages more than 23 million music assets on behalf of more than 1 million creators and 2,500 enterprise clients around the world.

Proceeds from the catalog sale are being reinvested back into Downtown.

“Concord is an excellent home for this extraordinary catalog that we’ve had the unique privilege to build over the past 14 years. Not only does Concord recognize the value of these works, but this transaction further demonstrates the true strength of the modern independent music sector,” says Downtown Founder and CEO Justin Kalifowitz.

“The incredible catalog of songs is an excellent complement to the timeless and valuable copyrights upon which Concord has built a successful business,” says Concord’s Chief Publishing Executive Jim Selby. “Our global publishing team is honored to now represent these songwriters and their works to the world.”

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