Downtown Music Publishing to Represent the Venerable Gershwin Catalog

Ninian Reid

Downtown Music Publishing has inked a new deal to represent the catalog of legendary songwriter George Gershwin.

The new deal struck with the Godowsky family and Heyward Memorial Fund covers Gershwin’s entire catalog. Many of Gershwin’s most famous compositions from the 1930s are included:

  • ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’
  • ‘Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off’
  • ‘Love Is Here to Stay’
  • ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’
  • ‘Summertime’

The 1935 hit ‘Summertime’ from the opera Porgy and Bess is probably Gershwin’s most famous composition — though that’s subject to debate.

The deal also includes publishing administration rights on more than 300 previously unpublished songs by Gershwin. Many unused songs from films like Shall We Dance and A Damsel in Distress are also part of the new deal. These works have been unavailable to the public since they were re-discovered in the 1980s.

The news comes at a time when Porgy and Bess is in the midst of a major revival.

George Gershwin, his brother Ira Gershwin, and the Heywards composed the opera classic. A new production of the opera will open at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City this September. The new production is the theater’s first staging of the musical since the 1990s.

Over 25,000 recordings of the song ‘Summertime’ exist. Legendary singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Louis Armstrong, Janis Joplin, and Willie Nelson have all covered the song.

This is the latest in a string of deals for Downtown.

Earlier this year, Downtown Music Publishing also secured the rights to a publishing deal with Shaggy.  Additionally, the company also entered into a joint venture with Cowboys & Pirates.

Capping it off, Downtown’s parent company recently acquired AVL Digital Group, which includes CD Baby, AdRev, DashGo, and Soundrop, for a cool $230 million.

Downtown Music Publishing CEO Justin Kalifowitz says his team is honored to be entrusted with the Gershwin catalog.

“To be entrusted with these legendary works — which remain as culturally relevant today as ever — is a true honor and a testament to our team.”

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