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YEAR-TO-DATE MARKETSHARE

We’ve got ourselves some building drama, folks, as the fourth quarter looms. Remember Super Bowl LI in early 2017, when Tom Brady led the New England Patriots back from a seemingly insurmountable 25-point deficit in the middle of the third quarter to overtake the stunned Atlanta Falcons in overtime? The 2018 label marketshare contest could provide us with the music-biz equivalent of that improbable comeback.

Let’s set the stage: At the end of Q1 of this year, Republic was two full percentage points behind long-dominant Atlantic in total activity, 10.6% to 8.6%. By halftime, Atlantic had raised its total to 10.9, but Republic was building momentum, upping its share by nearly a percentage point to 9.5. Nonetheless, that lead seemed virtually insurmountable at the start of the third quarter. But now, two-thirds of the way through Q3, Republic has pulled to within nearly a half point of Atlantic, 10.3 to 9.7, behind the hot hand of Monte Lipman and his ballers, as Post Malone, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande and Island’s Shawn Mendes, along with Big Machine’s relentless Taylor Swift put points on the scoreboard.

Carrying the ball for Atlantic have been rookie of the year candidate Cardi B, Panic! At the Disco and the hip-hop equivalent of running back by committee, but the label’s battering ram throughout 2018 has been its soundtrack to The Greatest Showman. That unanticipated smash could get its second (or third) wind following its TV premiere on HBO over the weekend, and the label is expected to get major yardage from Twenty One Pilots’ next album, dropping on 10/5.

What will Lipman do to counter? Is he drawing up a trick play or two involving one or more of his superstars in order to pull off this unlikely comeback? We’ll be watching this one closely as the scoreboard clock clicks down toward zero. 

While all eyes have been on this battle for the championship, John Janick’s Interscope has cemented its hold on #3 in the standings, as Eminem’s surprise release Kamikaze becomes the latest in a string of smashes including the Black Panther ST, Imagine DragonsEvolve and J. Cole’s KOD, while Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. continues to be a factor in the label’s 8.5% share YTD. On top of that, Imagine Dragons have crafted yet another ubiquitous single in “Natural,” released in July. Does this newly minted smash portend a new album in Q4?

The most sizable upward move has been made rather quietly, by the reinvigorated Warner Bros. Records, which has gained seven tenths of a percentage point during the third quarter, from 5.2% to 5.9%, with Tom Corson flying solo ahead of the fall arrival of co-head Aaron Bay-Schuck. WBR currently has hot singles from newcomers Bryce Vine and Anne-Marie, but the biggest contributor appears to be Dan + Shay from Espo’s Warner Nashville.

On the macro level, Sir Lucian Grainge’s UMG continues to slice an ever-bigger piece of the marketshare pie, with 38.1% in the U.S., compared to 36.7% at the end of Q1. Those gains are the result of the consistent heat being generated by Republic, Interscope and Steve Barnett’s Capitol, which is presently a mere two tenths of a point behind #4 Columbia. Def Jam’s renovation continues apace under the supervision of the extremely busy Paul Rosenberg, while UMG Nashville is as reliable as the sunrise under Mike Dungan’s savvy leadership.

Ron Perry’s rebuilding of flagship label Columbia sets the table for Rob Stringer’s Sony Music, while WMG’s Max Lousada may have just two labels under his command, but he’s not complaining considering that they’re #1 and #5. 

 

YEAR-TO-DATE ALBUMS

YEAR-TO-DATE STREAMS

MARTY'S NOTE TO
THE TROOPS
A 12-year run is coming to an end. (9/18a)
MEMO FROM JON
Platt heading to Sony/ATV. (9/17a)
THE MORPHING MEANING OF A&R
Tina, Tubby, Steven, Derrick and Tim weigh in. (9/17a)
CHART STORY: ONE NATION UNDER STATION
McCartney's first #1 debut. (9/17a)
NEW RELEASES,
CARRIED FORWARD
Sitting "Pretty." (9/18a)
RAINMAKERS
The ones making history now.
WHO'S NEXT?
Who will be the next big pub and label players?
THOUGHTS ON LUNCH?
Like, will it ever get here?
THE KIDS
They're leaning on the button.
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