New York-based Downtown is exiting the copyright market at a moment when investors are paying top dollar for high-profile catalog sales by Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks and Neil Young. Its new direction is a bet that the proliferation of streaming means more artists will need help getting their music out and making money from it. During the era of CDs and digital downloads, signing to a label was essentially the only way for an artist to have their music distributed, played on the radio and promoted. In a standard record deal, the label typically takes ownership of any music recorded by the artist in exchange for an advance and taking on the risk of signing that artist. The rise of streaming services, such as Spotify Technology SA and Apple Inc.’s Apple Music, has made it easier for artists to release their music as they like, with or without a label’s help.
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