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THE BIG 9 IN 2014
How the Labels Fared This Year; Fifth in a Series

 

Free of the distraction of judging The X Factor for two seasons, Reid threw himself into upgrading of his executive team, welcoming fellow decorated veteran Sylvia Rhone as President and tapping John Staub to head up digital marketing, as the high-energy Todd Glassman, in his first full year at the label, settled into his job of spearheading Epic’s promotion efforts. In particular, Rhone’s involvement in the day-to-day had a dramatic impact on the way the label operated. At this time last year, Epic registered 1.3% in frontline share; this year it’s 2.2%. Epic’s TEA has hit 3%.

A Great Big World, whose “Say Something” is just south of 4m, and whose debut LP made a #3 bow in January, stands as the first bona fide breakthrough act since Reid’s arrival, as Glassman and the Epic promo team demonstrated what a major label can deliver when given a bona fide potential smash. KONGOS’ “Come With Me Now,” which followed close on the heels of “Say Something,” was the year’s only rock breakthrough, zooming to the top of the Alternative chart in March. Trainor, signed by SVP A&R Paul Pontius, nearly matched KONGOS’ speed record with the infectious and pointed “All About That Bass,” which has been playing leapfrog with Taylor Swift for the top perch on the pop chart, and which appears to have enormous potential for further growth even at the 3.5m sales mark.

"Bass" has received Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, putting Trainor in a select group of artists with noms in more than major category, while A Great Big World is up for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

Another highlight was Michael Jackson’s XCAPE, executive produced by Reid himself, which debuted at #1 in May. “L.A. Reid is the one that pulled this off,” Jackson Estate co-executor John Branca noted. “He put together an incredible team of talented producers to execute his vision.” The only downside was that no smash single came out of the project.

The now-vibrant label should be well represented when the nominees for the 2015 Grammys are announced on Dec. 5. Look for Reid to sign on for a second term.



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...or are our bosses from outer space?
THE KIDS
They're leaning on the button.
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