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MARKETSHARE IN THE U.K. FOR 2018

How did the U.K. major labels fare in marketshare in 2018? Here’s the lowdown: Universal was up 1.2% on 2017, Sony was down 2.8%, Warner was down 0.5% and the independent sector rose 2.1%. 

The stats for 2018 come courtesy of the Official Charts Company and were first printed in U.K. trade title Music Week. They are as of chart week 50 (week ending 12/14) and, as always, we’re using the AES all albums figure. 

Universal rose to 36.2% in 2018 from 35% in 2017 — its best all-albums performance for at least five years. Last year, successes included two key contributions to the soundtrack boom — Mamma Mia - Here We Go Again and A Star is Born, which were both released via Polydor in Blighty. The global success of Drake and Post Malone paid dividends, alongside big Q4 releases from Take That — the fastest selling artist album last year — and The 1975Mumford & SonsAndrea Bocelli and Rod Stewart. In total, Universal claimed six of the 10 biggest artist albums, 10 of the Top 20, and four of the Top 5 streaming artists. U.K.-signed acts Jax JonesYears & Years5 Seconds of SummerMabelSigrid and Jonas Blue all had big-selling singles. Polydor, which claims Take That and The 1975 as well as the soundtracks, jumped to #2 from #4 on the label leaderboard with a rise of 1.5%. One step ahead at #1 is reigning champ Virgin EMI

At Sony, marketshare dropped to 21.8% in 2018 from 24.6% in 2017. Despite that, the label claimed the best-selling album released last year with George Ezra, and best-selling single from Calvin Harris, both of which were released through Columbia. Harris tied with Drake to claim the most weeks at #1 on the singles chart with 14 across two #1 singles, and Ezra had two singles in the end of year Top 10 best-sellers list. In addition, RCA had the biggest international debut with Camila Cabello and released Paloma Faith's fourth platinum-selling album (the second U.K. female in history to achieve that after Sade). Q4 Top 5s included albums from Tom OdellOlly Murs and Little Mix. Across the year, developing acts Tom Walker, B Young and Not3s enjoyed platinum-selling singles. RCA was the best performing imprint at #3 on the leaderboard, followed by Columbia at #6. 

At Warner, the dust has slightly settled following the Ed Sheeran effect in 2017. Marketshare went to 17.8% from 18.3% in 2017. When looking at its performance over the last four years, the label's share is still steadily rising, and is up from 17.2% in 2015 and 17.5% in 2016. Last year, Atlantic has continued to be the star player with top-selling album The Greatest Showman, the continued popularity of Sheeran’s Divide, a best-selling debut with Anne-Marie and a second #1 with Jess GlynneWarner Bros. is also strong thanks to Dua Lipa, and Q4 releases of note included #1 albums from Michael Buble and Muse, and a #2 with twenty one pilots

The independent sector was up to 24.4% in 2018 from 22.1% in 2017. Big wins in 2018 included a #1 single with Dave, and Top 5 albums from Jorja Smith (FAMM), Arctic Monkeys (Domino), Idles (Partisan), Richard Ashcroft and Prodigy (BMG) and The 1975 (Dirty Hit).  

 

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