Concord Music Publishing’s Jaime Gough Reflects on 20-Year Milestone: ‘There Are No Limits to What We Can Achieve’
At 20 years (and counting), Concord Music Publishing ANZ is all grown up.
Jaime Gough is guiding the music publisher into adulthood as managing director, overseeing offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland, a role that expanded significantly when Native Tongue, the Gough family business, was snapped up by Concord in 2022.
Native Tongue was founded in 2003 by New Zealander Chris Gough, and run by siblings Jaime and Chelsea Gough since his semi-retirement in 2014.
Over time, the indie publishing specialist assembled a roster including such writers as Courtney Barnett, Stuart Crichton (Backstreet Boys, Kesha, Kygo), Sophie Curtis (Cosmos Midnight, Jessica Mauboy, aespa), Dave Dobbyn, Jon Hume (Dean Lewis, Sofi Tukker), M-Phazes (Ruel, Remi Wolf), Gin Wigmore, and Marlon Williams, and enjoyed success in several Asian markets.
At the time of the merger, Native Tongue served as sub-publisher for over 40 international catalogs, and had represented Concord, the U.S.-based independent powerhouse, for a dozen years.
Jaime Gough is now very much in charge of the enlarged business, Concord Music Publishing ANZ. Prior to joining Native Tongue in 2005, and learning the ropes from his dad, the younger Gough earned a double bachelor’s degree in business marketing & management from Monash University, and worked in artist management at Mayday Management and music licensing at Mana Music.
As the music publisher enters its 20s, Gough and Co. will celebrate the milestone the right way: with a party in central Melbourne featuring performances by freshly-crowned ARIA winner Fanny Lumsden, recent signing Coterie, a “sneak peek” at new material from Hollow Coves, plus DJ sets and “surprise special guests.”
The Music Network caught up with Gough for a look at the road ahead and a glimpse into the past.
TMN: Jaime, congrats on 20 years in business. I suspect you’ll give yourself an opportunity to remember some of the big moments. How did it all begin?
The moment you think you’ve made it is the moment you start going backwards.
That said, there were a few moments early on that helped us take big steps forward as a full-service music publisher.
The first was in 2003, when my father Chris decided to take over the administration rights to his publishing catalogue and changing the company name to Native Tongue. This allowed us to have a competitive setup to sign more writers and international catalogues to represent in Australia and New Zealand, as sub-publisher.
In 2005, we signed a reciprocal sub-publishing agreement with Domino Publishing Co., the publishing arm of the legendary label (Arctic Monkeys, Four Tet, The Kills, Franz Ferdinand).
In 2006, we picked up the rights to Stage Three Music, a catalogue of 20,000 songs including hits by Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Macy Gray and others. These deals forced us to get serious about rights administration and invest in new systems.
We also staffed up in the synchronisation licensing space and started to achieve results for our new partners.
Word spread and more clients joined.
In 2009, I moved to London with the broad brief to connect our locally signed songwriters to the U.S. and Europe, and continue to attract other publishing catalogues that we could represent in Australia and New Zealand.
I targeted a company called Imagem, home of Phil Collins, Pink Floyd, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and in 2010 we signed an agreement to represent their Boosey & Hawkes classical catalogue for sync only.
We landed a few large advertising placements in the first year, and in 2011 we took on the entire Imagem catalogue. In 2017, Imagem was acquired by Concord.
Speaking of which, what are some of your proudest achievements?
It’s not often talked about, but I am incredibly proud of the work our team has done to develop careers for a diverse range of songwriters over a long period of time. We’ve helped singer-songwriters transition to compose for the screen, developed songwriters that have sold millions in the K-pop market, held writing camps in Australia, New Zealand, Los Angeles and helped writers establish connections all around the world.
Over the 20 years we’ve been fortunate to have had agreements to represent some of the world’s best songwriters, including Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Prince, Daft Punk, Aerosmith, Spandau Ballet and Tom Petty (via Wixen Music).
There have been many moments that we count ourselves lucky to be in this position, yet we have never been complacent.
We’re very conscious that to maintain such a great roster, we need to be the best at what we do.
In 2014, we had an opportunity to pitch for the Prince catalogue. He had finally extricated himself from prior publishing agreements and was looking for independent representation of his own company, New Power Generation Music. We won the deal and were the custodians of his fine catalogue, until his untimely passing.
It’s been 15 months since the Concord acquisition. How has the business grown and changed in that time?
It’s been an incredibly busy period. New signings to the roster include Meg Mac, Coterie, Luude, Ashli, SACHI, Richard Clapton and recent ARIA Award winner Fanny Lumsden.
We’ve renewed agreements with Vallis Alps, Hollow Coves, The Amity Affliction, Stuart Crichton (Backstreet Boys, Kygo, Lost Frequencies), Sophie Curtis (ASTON, aespa), Gin Wigmore, Andy Macken & Thom Macken (Kita Alexander, Vera Blue).
And we’ve fully acquired the song catalogues of Gin Wigmore, and the catalogues of Andy Macken and Thom Macken.
Each of these deals also see us continue to invest in and administer new works for these writers.
Also, we’ve successfully integrated internal systems and are seeing the benefits of being on the same systems as the global Concord team, and our A&R team hosted a songwriting camp in NSW in October.
We had five Australian writers feature in the Concord Nashville Sync Camp, which was held in September and involved 90 songwriters and eight music supervisors.
We have seen continued success in the Korean and Japanese pop markets, with Ciara Muscat penning recent releases for Itzy, Twice and Red Velvet, and Tim Tan co-writing the latest Enhyphen release.
Your dad retired from the business. Does he miss it, and does he support you in any way, perhaps as a sounding board?
Yes, he is still very interested in what we are doing, and we speak regularly. In fact, he pointed out to me last week that he registered his first publishing company in 1988, so we should be celebrating 35 years!
He still regards the writers he signed and worked with as extended family. I don’t think that will ever change.
That said, after over 50 years in the music business, he is enjoying spending his time on other things. He’s very happy that along with my sister Chelsea and our amazing team, we are continuing to advocate for the rights and careers of songwriters.
How will you celebrate the milestone?
We’re hosting a party in Melbourne this week, featuring Fanny Lumsden, Hollow Coves, Coterie, and a very special guest. Plus DJ sets from Alice Ivy, Liam McGorry and Alex Gow. It will be a great night.
We will also host a party in New Zealand next year.
What does the next 20 years look like for the business?
We will continue to grow through smart signings and catalogue acquisitions.
Whilst publishing is our primary focus, we plan to further develop the Concord Label Group in Australia and New Zealand.
The label group features over 300 Grammy winners and is comprised of multiple labels spanning all genres.
The frontline labels consist of wholly owned Concord/Rounder, Concord Jazz, Fantasy Records, Fearless Records, and KIDZ BOP, with Easy Eye Sound, Loma Vista Recordings and Pulse Records as joint ventures.
Artists include Denzel Curry, GHOST, Sierra Ferrell, Sampa The Great, Lindsey Stirling, Pierce The Veil, Chase Atlantic, I PREVAIL, Allison Russell, Billy Strings, George Alice, Thirty Seconds To Mars and Skegss.
The company’s historical labels are managed by its Craft Recordings team and include such storied catalogues as Creedence Clearwater Revival and R.E.M to the iconic The Sound Of Music soundtrack.
Concord also has an Originals department, creating content for the screen, and we hope to have our first local project in production next year.
We will also continue to develop the theatricals and classical businesses in the territory.
There are no limits to what we can achieve as part of the Concord group. It’s an extremely exciting time for our songwriters and team.