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2019 MARKETSHARE:
SHOCK OF THE NEW

With 2019 one for the books, the final marketshare standings are now all but set in stone. So let’s call it a lock and dive in.   

In these prosperous times, the Big Three keep getting bigger, as their restocked executive teams grow increasingly adept. Each major music group has shown significant revenue growth over 2018, the bulk of it due to streaming. Revenues at Sir Lucian Grainge’s UMG hit $5.66b in the first nine months of 2018, a 15%+ rise. Recorded-music sales at Rob Stringer’s Sony Music topped $1b in consecutive quarters, while streaming revenues were up more than 21% in both quarters year-over-year. And revenue at the Steve Cooper-led WMG increased 11.7% to $4.475b in the company’s fiscal year, which ended 9/31, with nearly half of Warner’s income coming from streaming. Cha-ching.

Label-wise, John Janick has been building toward a breakout year like this one since he became the sole ruler of Interscope a half decade ago. While core acts of the Iovine era, including Lady Gaga (whose 2018 A Star Is Born ST is #8 this year) and Eminem, have continued to flourish during Janick’s reign, his primary focus has been the nurturing and breaking of a new breed of artists, exemplified by the patient, perfectly calibrated setup and payoff of Billie Eilish, whose 2m+ debut album is the second-biggest of 2019, while her previous EP is currently #20. She leads a pack of up-and-comers including the late Juice WRLD (#17 and 25), DaBaby (#22), Roc Nation/Dreamville’s Dreamville & J. Cole (#24), LVRN’s Summer Walker (#33) and Brit Ella Mai (#49). A number of these acts were brought in by A&R all-star Joie Manda.

With five of 2019’s Top 10 albums and four of the Top 10 streaming songs, Republic has dominated the upper reaches of the charts, emphatically demonstrating once again that for Monte Lipman, it’s all about smashes—and he’s got superstars who consistently light up the scoreboard. MVP frontrunner Post Malone not only has the year’s #1 album but #6 and #29 as well, comprising his entire catalog, along with two of the Top 10 streaming songs and four of the Top 50. The hits keep on coming thanks to a murderers’ row of stat-sheet-fillers: #3 Ariana Grande, #4 Taylor Swift, #9 Drake, #12 Jonas Brothers, #21 Shawn Mendes (Island) and rookie phenom Lil Tecca (#42).

By contrast, Atlantic’s success is volume-driven; the label had only one Top 10 album, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, at #10, while #15 Lizzo, #16 Ed Sheeran and #18 Meek Mill give it four in the Top 20, the same number as Interscope and two less than Republic. Where Atlantic is making hay is in recent catalog: Sheeran’s Divide and The Greatest Showman from 2017 and Hamilton from 2015 are still moving units, as are Cardi B and Nipsey Hussle’s nearly two-year-old albums. The formula may not be sexy, but it’s been working.

Steve Barnett has built Capitol Music Group into a powerhouse, with major contributors including Coach K and P’s Quality Control and Jacqueline Saturn’s Caroline. Halsey’s #7 “Without Me,” Marshmello & Bastille’s #11 “Happier” and breakout star Lewis Capaldi’s chart-topping “Someone You Loved” are among the company’s biggest hit singles, while QC/Motown’s key contributors include Lil Baby & Gunna (#23) and City Girls (#38).

There was action aplenty elsewhere. Ron Perry’s Columbia made history with Lil Nas X in a unicorn tale turned ubiquitous reality. Khalid substantiated his superstar status at Peter Edge’s RCA. Bay-Schuck and Corson’s Warner Records scored with 12Tone’s Lauren Daigle, made headway with NLE Choppa and crossed WMG Nashville’s Dan + Shay for John Esposito. Sylvia Rhone’s Epic notched Top 50 albums from Travis Scott (#11), 21 Savage (#26), Future (#43) and DJ Khaled (#48). Luke Combs made country streaming a thing, finally, at Randy Goodman’s Sony Music Nashville. Queen came to life at Ken Bunt’s Disney Music Group. Mike Dungan’s UMG Nashville rocked out with Chris Stapleton and Eric Church. And Thomas Rhett paced Scott Borchetta’s BMLG.

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