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MARKETSHARE AT THE THREE-QUARTER POLE

The marketshare standings near the end of the third quarter haven’t changed significantly since midyear, but as usual, Q4 has the potential to be a big difference-maker. Adding intrigue to Q4 2017 is the fact that several superstars will release their first albums since the streaming revolution began to transform the business.

Furthering the intrigue is an arrangement between Monte Lipman and Scott Borchetta by which the BMLG group’s share is moved under Republic whenever Taylor Swift is on cycle. This deal increases Republic’s chances of vaulting Columbia—#2 YTD with 9.5% SPS—and #1 Atlantic, with 10.3%, by year’s end. Atlantic appears to be vulnerable following a dominant nine months, with no high-profile albums announced for Q4—although a surprise release can never be ruled out. The same applies to Columbia.

Will Taylor’s 11/10 album reputation maintain her impressive trend? Her last three albums debuted with 1m+ in sales, each bigger than the previous release, topped by 2014’s 1989, which debuted with 1.3m in sales. Since then, Taylor has made peace with Spotify, while Apple Music is now in the picture. The big question is, will reputation’s first-week SPS hit or surpass that 1.3m pure-sales milestone?

John Janick’s Interscope, which has had a lock on the #4 slot throughout 2017, with 7.8% YTD, will get a sizable boost with the release of Eminem’s first album since 2013’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2, which has sold 4m in the U.S.

Atlantic, Republic, Interscope and RCA—four of the top five YTD—are among the seven majors whose streaming marketshare share exceeds their SPS percentage, with Republic’s 9.8% in streaming share good for second place in that metric. Those four and other three strong-streaming majors—Epic (4.4%), Def Jam (3.5%) and The Orchard (a surprising 3.1%)—have fully embraced the new model by pouring their A&R resources into hip-hop and rhythmic pop, the most popular forms among younger consumers, who have embraced streaming most wholeheartedly, positioning these labels for continued growth.

Country listeners are beginning to make the sales-to-streaming transition, and the Nashville labels are on track to cross the 2% plateau in streams in the not-too-distant future. At this point, Mike Dungan’s UMG Nashville is up to 1.8%, with Randy Goodman’s Sony Music Nashville close behind at 1.7%. (The numbers for John Esposito’s Warner Music Nashville aren’t broken out for overall Warner Bros. Records marketshare.)

The biggest contributor by a level 3 label to its parent company is RED, whose share goes to Columbia, though it’s being folded into The Orchard, with 3.2% SPS. Republic’s Island (1.8%) and Cash Money (1.6%) are next, while BMLG group’s 1.3% will jump considerably once Taylor’s machine is fully mobilized.

Looking at the Big Three overall, Sir Lucian Grainge’s UMG with 36.3% SPS, has opened up a nearly 10-point lead on the field and is eight points up on the competition in streaming share with 35.8%. Given Universal’s full-on commitment to the streaming model, that lead is not likely to diminish anytime soon.

Go to Top 50 Streamed Songs and Top 50 SPS Albums

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