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UNIVERSAL TOPS U.K. MARKETSHARE

The U.K. major-label marketshare stats for H1 2019 are in, with Universal winning the race by a rise of 2.3% year-on-year while the independent sector is up 0.4%. Sony is down 0.8% and Warner has dropped by 1.8%.

The stats for 2019 come courtesy of the Official Charts Company and were first printed in U.K. trade title Music Week. They are as of chart week 26 (ending 6/28) and, as always, we’re using the AES all-albums figure.

Universal has had a particularly good run of late with a share of 37.3% across the last six months. That’s thanks to the runaway success of breakout star Lewis Capaldi (Virgin EMI) and best-selling albums from Ariana Grande (Island), Billie Eilish (Polydor) and the A Star Is Born ST (Polydor), as well as top singles by Mabel (Polydor), Sam Smith & Normani (Capitol) and Post Malone (Island). It’s the best performance for the label in a while—UMG ended 2016 and 2017 at 35%, rising to 36.2% in 2018. This time last year, its share was 35%. Virgin EMI and Polydor are the top two performing imprints with 11.0% and 9.2%, respectively. 

There’s good news for the independent sector, which rose to 25.1% in H1 2019, up from 24.7% this time last year. It’s a notable rise on its performance across the last three years—23.2% in 2016, 22.1% in 2017 and 24.2% in 2018. Notable successes this year include #1 albums from Dave (NBR), Jack Savoretti (BMG) and Kylie Minogue (BMG) and a Top 5 from AJ Tracey (self-released through ADA).

Sony’s share is down to 21.5% from 22.3% in H1 2018 and 21.8% at the end of last year. The decline follows a run of success in 2016 and 2017, when its share stood at 24.3% and 24.6% respectively. Best-sellers this year include George Ezra (Columbia), Tom Walker (Relentless) and Pink (RCA), and singles by Calvin Harris & Rag’n’Bone Man (Columbia), Lil Nas X (Columbia) and Mark Ronson f/Miley Cyrus (Columbia). RCA is its best-performing imprint at #3 on the leaderboard with 8.8% followed by Columbia at #6 with 5.7%. 

Warner is down to 16.2% from 18% in H1 2018 and 17.8% at the end of last year. The decline follows a purple patch in 2016 and 2017 when its share hit 17.5% and 18.3% respectively. Despite the stats, the label has the best-selling album of 2019 so far—The Greatest Showman ST (Atlantic)—as well as ongoing sales with Jess Glynne (Atlantic), Ed Sheeran (Atlantic) and Dua Lipa (Warner Records), who may be releasing her second album this year, and top singles with Ava Max (Atlantic), Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber, and Stormzy (#Merky/Atlantic), who also has a second album on the way. Atlantic continues to be its best-performing imprint at #5 with 7.2%.

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