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Pub Crawling

UMPG U.K. has inked electronic music producer/songwriter/DJ duo Bicep to an exclusive, global publishing deal.

Consisting of Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar, Bicep earned two BRIT noms in 2021 and released Isles (Ninja Tune), the follow-up to their 2017 self-titled debut. The sophomore album debuted at #2 on the U.K. Albums chart, plus made the Top 3 in Ireland and Belgium, the Top 10 in Germany and Top 20 in Australia.

“Getting the chance to work alongside Andy, Matt and the crew at This Is Music means a lot to me and our UMPG team can’t wait to support their development here in the coming years,” said Pete Simmons, Head of A&R, UMPG U.K.

“Pete Simmons and Mike McCormack know our back catalogue inside out already, so it’s great to work with people who understand what we’ve done in past and where we want to go in the future,” added Bicep. 

Since headlining their first major British festival at Field Day last year, Bicep’s headline slots have included Wide Awake, Love Saves the Day, AVA, Forbidden Fruit and Creamfields. They’ve also performed at Coachella, Glastonbury, Primavera, Pitchfork Paris, Sonar and Reading & Leeds, among other festivals.

Seen above before celebrating with their favorite shuffle moves are (l-r) McBriar, Simmons and Ferguson. 


Feed Media Group's (FMG) subscription-based platform Adapter has inked a publishing deal with Downtown Music Services, making the more than 23m songs Downtown administers available to growth stage startup companies.  

Adaptr boasts the largest pre-cleared popular music catalog for early-stage startups in the U.S. and is able to clear both publishing and performance rights for its clients, provide rights holders in-depth information on song use while managing all royalty payments. Under the new deal, Downtown joins a growing group of companies in music that have opened their catalogs to Adaptr, including WMG, Beggars Group, Merlin and Songtrust.

Meanwhile, Downtown has over 1.7 million clients in over 145 countries comprised of global brands such as CD Baby, FUGA, and Songtrust. Downtown’s service offerings span distribution, music publishing administration and video monetization. 


UMPG UK’s Pete Simmons, center, convinces Bicep’s Matthew McBriar, left, and Andrew Ferguson that it’s a cheat day and there’s no need to do another set of curls.

Producer/songwriter duo BicepAndrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar—has signed an exclusive, global publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group.

“When I joined UMPG eight years ago, I would listen to everything on the Feel My Bicep blog in the search of something special,” UMPG UK Head of A&R Pete Simmons said. “At the time, I had no idea the guys behind it would become that very thing I was looking for and watching their music grow into what it is today has been really something. Getting the chance to work alongside Andy, Matt and the crew at This Is Music means a lot to me and our UMPG team can’t wait to support their development here in the coming years.”

Bicep has received BRIT Awards nominations, gone Top 10 on the U.K. and Irish Official Album charts and had their music featured in ads for BMW and Cupra.

Bicep management company This Is Music were recently recognized by the Music Managers’ Forum with the Innovation Award.


Last week at the Zach Sang Show, Scottish singer/songwriter Katie Gregson-MacLeod stopped for this not-so-complex photo op with host Zach Sang and co-host Dan Zolot.

Having posted a snippet of “complex (demo)” on TikTok in early August—which now boasts 7.6m+ views on the original video—Gregson-MacLeod's track became the sad-girl anthem of the platform in a matter of days prior to official release.

The single now boasts 10m+ streams on Spotify alone and landed the 21-year-old a deal with Columbia earlier this month.

Seen before putting in a complex order on Postmates are (l-r) Zolot, Gregson-MacLeod and Sang.


Sony Music Publishing has signed a global deal with triple threat Dove Cameron, who struck RIAA gold with the queer-friendly anthem 'Boyfriend' (Columbia/Disruptor) in February.

Cameron, a singer, songwriter and actress, won Best New Artist at the 2022 MTV VMAs and is rumored to be in the running for another Best New Artist nod at the 65th annual Grammy Awards

“Dove is a brilliant songwriter,' SMP VP, Creative Thomas Krottinger said. 'Her creative authenticity has not only led to chart success, but it has enabled her to become an important voice representing the LGBTQ+ community.' 

Following its release, 'Boyfriend' landed in the Top 10, has racked up over 349m streams worldwide, peaked at #2 on Top 40 radio and #10 on Spotify’s U.S. chart. She followed the success of 'Boyfriend' with 'Breakfast' last month. 

Cameron began writing songs as a teenager, while simultaneously pursuing an acting career. She's appeared in the Apple TV+ musical-comedy series Schmigadoon! as well as VENGEANCE with Issa Rae and Ashton Kutcher and the Machine Gun Kelly-directed film Good Mourning starring Pete DavidsonMegan FoxBecky GMod Sun and Whitney Cummings. We, on the other hand, have not starred in anything. You're welcome. 


SMP Nashville has inked singer/songwriter/guitarist Jamie JD Davis to a global pub deal.

Davis, who first launched his career as part of Jamie Davis & Soul Gravy before becoming a guitar tech for Luke Combs’ team in 2017, most recently co-wrote Combs’ #1 single, “The Kind of Love We Make.”

The track, which is Davis’s third cut with Combs, has garnered 125m+ on-demand streams and topped the Country Airplay chart as well as the Hot Country Songs chart. Davis also has cuts with the likes of Lilly Rose, Jenna Paulette, Leith Loftin and more. 

“Jamie has an innate ability to channel his years of front man experience into thoughtfully crafted songs that resonate with music lovers everywhere. There’s no limit to the amount of success Jamie will find in Nashville,” said SMP, VP, Creative, Tom Luteran.

“I couldn’t be happier to have Rusty Gaston and Big Tom on my team at Sony Music Publishing. I’m glad to be working with the best publishing team in Nashville,” added Davis.

Seen above before heading to the nearest honky tonk to celebrate are (l-r) front row—Luteran, Davis, Rusty Gaston; back rowKenley Flynn, Dale Bobo, Anna Weisband, Dan Isbell, Aubrey Rupe and Synnovea Halsel.


Sony Music Publishing U.K. has upped Rob Stratton to Director, Visual + Media Rights. 

Having joined the company in 2014 as a promotions executive, Stratton transitioned to his most recent role in 2019.

Now, he’ll serve as the point of contact for SMP’s U.K. Visual + Media clients while supporting the department's SVP, Cathy Merenda, and the greater U.S. team. 

“Together with our exceptional teams both in the U.K. and the U.S, I look forward to delivering new opportunities for our Visual + Media Rights clients and driving our business forward,” said Stratton.

“We met Rob over a decade ago when he first joined EMI Music Publishing and are thrilled to see him develop into the outstanding executive he is,” added SMP President & co-Managing Director, U.K., SVP International David Ventura and co-Managing Director, U.K. Tim Major.

“Rob is an excellent fit for this role, and I am delighted to be working alongside him to deliver a superior level of service to SMP's Visual + Media Rights clients,” shared Merenda.


Big Machine Music, a subsidiary of HYBE America, has inked singer/songwriter Matt Roy to an exclusive co-publishing deal. 

Having penned songs for the likes of Kane Brown, Chris Young, Ashley Cooke and Adam Doleac, Roy landed his first pub deal prior to graduating from Belmont University in 2018. He earned his first chart-topper in 2020 with the multi-week #1, gold-certified hit “Done,” co-written and recorded by Chris Janson

Earlier this year, the New Jersey native dropped his debut EP, Wildflower, which featured five self-penned tracks and he’s recently been on the road opening for artists including Morgan Wade.

“Matt has a natural instinct of both craft and commerciality beyond what can be taught or learned. I believe he will be one of the great songwriters of his generation,” said BMM GM Mike Molinar.

“I could not be more excited to be a part of the Big Machine Music family,” added Roy. “Their commitment to song craftsmanship and work ethic is something that inspires me greatly as a songwriter and artist. I really do feel at home and I’m excited to get to work together.”

Roy joins a roster that includes Brett Young, Ryan Hurd, Laura Veltz, Matt Dragstrem, Jessie Jo Dillon, Eric Paslay and more. 

Seen above before celebrating with Nashville’s finest hot chicken are (l-r) are Molinar, Roy and BMM’s Director of Publishing Michelle Attardi.

Photo Credit: Noah Needleman


SMP Nashville and Jim Catino’s Droptine Music Publishing have partnered to ink country singer/songwriter Dalton Dover to a global pub deal.

“From the moment you hear Dalton’s voice, there’s no doubt he was born to do this. We couldn’t be more excited about the music he is creating and the future ahead of him,” said SMP Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston.

“Thanks to Matt McVaney for bringing Dalton to me and producing this project. I’m also thankful for Rusty Gaston and all the support from his amazing team at Sony Music Publishing,” shared Droptine Founder Catino. “To say I’m excited to sign with Sony Music Publishing is an understatement,” added Dover.

Since appearing on Season 16 of The Voice, 23-year-old Dover made his official debut in 2021 with “You Got a Small Town” and “Baby I Am,” which earned him a spot on Spotify’s Hot Country 2022 Artists to Watch. His next offering, “Damn Good Life,” is due 9/23.

In addition to Dover, Droptine Music and SMP Nashville have partnered on writers including Tommy Karlas, Alex Maxwell and Russell Sutton.

Seen hoping this photo wouldn’t land in our inbox are (l-r) front rowBrian O’Neil, Gaston, Dover, Catino and Kenley Flynn; back rowDale Bobo, Anna Weisband, Tom Luteran, Charly Salvatore, Bruce Phillips and Josh Van Valkenburg

Photo credit: Sarah Elizabeth


Love H. Whelchel is Downtown Music Holdings’ first Chief People Officer, assigned to working with the company’s leadership on talent acquisition, training and development, infrastructure and organizational design.

Whelchel, who has spent two decades as a global people consultant in the technology, marketing communications and fashion industries, headed the human resources departments for agencies within WPP, IPG and Publicis. He was also the Chief Human Resources Officer for Sean “Puffy” Combs’ companies Combs Enterprises and Bad Boy Worldwide and was a principal in the mobile app company BINKABLE.

 'Throughout his impressive career, Love has guided the human resources function for a wide range of diverse companies,” said Downtown CEO Andrew Bergman. “I am excited to collaborate with Love as he takes a lead role in ensuring that we have the best people and culture in the business.

“Having Love’s leadership and energy lead that commitment is the beginning of an incredible new chapter for us.”

Staffers have been encouraged to resist greeting Whelchel with impromptu renditions of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”