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


The label began the year like gangbusters and is ending it with a flurry—after a slight lull in the middle. Its overall successes have pushed the label up .2% in both current and TEA marketshare over last year.

Stringer, who since the departure of Jimmy Iovine from Interscope has become the biz’s quintessential record guy, has streamlined operations by increasing the role of his highly effective EVP/GM Joel Klaiman and a strong A&R staff presided over by prexy Ashley Newton.

The label rode into 2014 on the freight train that was Beyoncé’s Christmas 2013 sneak attack, while Pharrell’s “Happy” and John Legend’s “All of Me” were already ramping up. These singles dominated for months, as did “Turn Down for What” from DJ Snake and Lil Jon.

Things leveled off at midyear, and Foster the People’s follow-up came up short. But Q4 saw the arrival of another giant from One Direction, whose 401k debut was second only to Taylor Swift’s. Of course, 1D’s prior album and its attendant singles were still selling well into this year.

A new “platinum” set expanding on the Beyoncé album, meanwhile, revisits last year’s holiday magic.

Team Columbia also broke a major new act in Irish troubadour Hozier, whose “Take Me to Church” built organically--and scored a Song of the Year Grammy nod.

Speaking of Grammy noms, Columbia snagged18, including six for Beyoncé and four for Pharrell (both nailed Album of the Year nods), three for Jack White (including Alt Album, Rock Song and Rock Performance) as well as a Best New Artist shout-out for HAIM, Streisand for Traditional Pop Album, DJ Snake & Lil Jon's Video honor, Legend for remix, ZHU for Dance Recording and Gone Girl for soundtrack.

Meanwhile, the label’s deep bench of music icons has delivered bigtime. Streisand’s holiday duets set has sold like macaroons at Pesach, Pink Floyd earned a #3 debut and a brand-new album from rock heavyweights AC/DC dropped this week. T.I. also scored a #3 bow.

Most recently, Columbia snapped up distaff rapper Dej Loaf after her seismic Shazam showing prompted hot multi-label pursuit. Once again, Team Columbia got what they wanted.
 


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