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THE BIG NINE IN 2014
How the Labels Fared This Year; Seventh in a Series


The pair rose to the challenge. While their frontline marketshare dipped .3% against last year, they were virtually flat in TEA—what’s more, a great many of the successes they chalked up in 2014 were with new acts.

New signing Pentatonix is ending Nipper’s year with a boom, as their holiday set picked up increasing velocity at retail.

The breaking of another, left-of-center artist in Sia ranks high among the pair’s achievements this year. A brilliant, controversial video helped turn single “Chandelier” into a phenom. EVP/GM Joe Riccitelli proved integral to the Sia campaign, worked closely with the artist and coordinating multiple moving parts. Edge and Corson also made a major move in bringing in Dennis Blair as SVP promo to strengthen their Rock department.

The Canadian group Magic! brought one of the year’s biggest songs in the surprise smash “Rude.” Newcomer Kid Ink connected solidly; Tinashe’s hot single featuring ScHoolboy Q marked the arrival of a beguiling new talent; Bleachers scored a #1 hit at Alternative. Mark Ronson’s funk-revival workout featuring Bruno Mars also exploded.

A couple of Nipper’s big acts fell short—notably Usher and Shakira, neither of whom delivered as they had in the past. Other of the roster’s veterans, however, put points on the board in an array of genres. Foo Fighters’ compelling new album debuted at #2 and fired off a #1 Alternative single. Hip-hop/R&B star Chris Brown and producer/artist/one-man party Pitbull proved consistently formidable at retail and radio. Veteran song parodist Weird Al Yankovic surprised the biz with a #1 album bow. Miley had another big single even as her prior monsters sold on. Oh, and RCA got another #1 smash out of JT, despite conventional wisdom about “Justin fatigue.” (The 20/20 Experience celebrated 6m in global sales in July.)

Nipper’s 20 Grammy nominations were led by four for Sia, including Record and Song of the Year and Pop Solo Performance. Among tther highlights: three nods for Chris Brown and two for Usher; Cage the Elephant scored an Alternative Album nod; Pentatonix got a shout-out in Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella; and Weird Al landed in Comedy Album. Three of the contenders for Best R&B Song—Jennifer Hudson, Usher and Brown—are RCA acts.

It was all further testimony to the effective distribution of duties at the top of Nipper’s House, with Edge’s creative vision and Corson’s marketing and logistical acumen working in harmony—while Riccitelli’s radio staff brought home the hits.


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GRAMMY NOMS
Who deserves consideration in the genre categories?
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