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Competing in the frontline arena is dependent on A&R and promotion—the blocking and tackling of the business—and Republic excels in both areas
REPUBLIC'S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
Mastery of the Fundamentals Takes Lipman's Label to the Top of the Heap

Monte Lipman’s Republic scored another #1 album this week with Pearl Jam, marking the label’s fourth chart-topper in the last seven weeks, following Ariana Grande and Jack Johnson in September and Drake earlier this month. This recent run further ramps up a wildly successful year for Republic, as the latest marketshare percentages dramatically reveal. With a 9.4% new-release share year-to-date, the company is nearly two full percentage points ahead of its nearest rival.

The true test of a label’s performance has to do with how it fares in the frontline (or new-release) business—it’s the measuring stick employed when top executives are renegotiating their deals. Competing in the frontline arena is dependent on A&R and promotion—the blocking and tackling of the business—and Republic excels in both areas, as evidenced by the remarkable job Lipman and his team, starting with President/COO Avery Lipman and EVP Charlie Walk, have done with Lorde, transforming the precocious teenager from an unknown to a top seller in the space of a few months.

Republic’s year has been a case study in the mastery of fundamentals, as the label has consistently slammed home radio hits that have become best sellers in their own right while also setting up big albums. Florida Georgia Line is one prime example, Lorde is another.

But to achieve such feats, you have to have records with a short fuse—records than will ignite and explode given a window of sustained exposure. On that score, Lipman’s nose, ears and fast-twitch muscles are the envy of the industry as he constantly taps his vast network of A&R sources for prime meat and follows his instincts without hesitation.

The proof is in the pudding: Republic has scored with established stars (Big Machine’s Taylor Swift, Cash Money’s Drake and Lil Wayne), newcomers (Of Monsters and Men, Lava’s Lorde, Grande, Republic Nashville’s Florida Georgia Line) and soundtracks (Les Miz, Pitch Perfect), rock warhorses (Pearl Jam, Black Sabbath), country thoroughbreds (The Band Perry) and neo-soul stallions (The Weeknd). It adds up to a stylistically wide-ranging array of records and acts that has always defined the most successful major labels, which by definition are in the volume business.

This is shaping up as an old-school triumph in a rapidly evolving industry, proving that the basics that once defined the record business remain the most reliable tools at a label’s disposal, provided they’re properly employed. Easy to say, not so easy to pull off.

"After taking up golf recently, I was taught that the first rule of the game is not to look at your scorecard "My brother and I are focused on aligning ourselves with great talent and creating opportunities for them to succeed—we keep it simple," Lipman told our own Simon Glickman in a Q&A published earlier this year. "As much as I’d like to believe it’s our pitch for new artists to join Republic, it’s really the roster that sells the company…

"There was a period in our business when the hottest bands would only want to sign with independent labels," he continued. "I spent a lot of time studying that dynamic and realized it wasn’t the resources and ability that attracted these acts to sign, but the passion and enthusiasm of the employees of the company. We now strive to be the best of both worlds: operate with the passion and enthusiasm of an indie, but with an ability to sell millions of records around the world."

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