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UMG, of course, still leads, its more-than-healthy 29.7% marketshare up slightly from a month ago, but down slightly from a year ago.
MARKETSHARE REPORT: THREE DOWN, ONE TO GO
UMG Still Leads, While Columbia Overtakes Interscope Minus Geffen
It’s Oct. 2003, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is California’s governor-elect. That being said, the dawn of the fourth quarter brings with it the record industry’s peak selling season, and at a time of unprecedented uncertainty and instability, the jingle-jangle of holiday cash registers ringing up some retail cheer would be a welcome sound indeed. If only cash registers still jingled or jangled.

Anyway, each of the Big Five is hard at work trying to maximize its slice of the market pie, even as at least three of them negotiate possible merger deals. UMG, of course, still leads, its more-than-healthy 29.7% marketshare up slightly from a month ago, but down slightly from a year ago. At #2, BMG bests potential merger mate WMG, down slightly from a month ago, but up two whole points from its year-ago figure. Sony, in transition, is down 2.7% from last year, while EMI, pulling up the rear, still shows the largest increase among the Big Five over the same period in 2002, with a 2.3% boost and 9.7% of marketshare. If WMG were merged with BMG today, their combined marketshare would be a regulator-bumming 32.7%. By comparison, if WMG merged with EMI today, their combined share of 25.7% would fall under UMG by a substantial four points.

On the label sides, big changes have taken place since our last update, as once-dominant Interscope Geffen A&M spins off Geffen (which now includes what once was MCA) for marketshare reporting purposes. Those keeping track will recall that, with MCA’s share added to its own, IGA towered over every other label with an 11.3% share. Sans the expanded Geffen, which charted last week with Rob Zombie and recently had a #1 debut with Mary J. Blige (to label President Jordan Schur’s credit), "IA," as we’ll call it, has a much more compatible 5.9 share.

That, of course, means Interscope gives up #1 bragging rights, but hey, empowerment ain’t easy. The top slot now belongs to Columbia at 6.2%, despite it being down two points compared to a year ago. Island Def Jam, down 2.2 points since last year, follows in second place, while the Geffen-less IA ties for third with Warner Bros. Having digested MCA, Geffen makes sixth place with 5.2%.UMG has the top-selling album of the year so far in 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying (Shady/Aftermath/ Interscope), which has moved 6.1 million, while EMI claims second with the indomitable Norah Jones, who has shifted 4.4 million copies of her Come Away with Me (Blue Note). WMG is third with Linkin Park’s Meteora (Warner Bros.), which has sold 2.7 million. BMG claims fourth and fifth with Evanescence’s Fallen (Wind-up) and R. Kelly’s Chocolate Factory (Jive), which have sold 2.5 million and 2.2 million, respectively. Sony just misses the Top Five with the Dixie ChicksHome (Columbia) at #6, having moved 1.9 million.

MUSIC GROUPS (%)

Group               Current Share            Year Ago               +/

1. UMG                  29.7                         30.5                    -0.8
2. BMG                 16.7                          16.9                    -0.2
3. WMG                16.0                           14.0                   +2.0
4. Sony                   12.9                           15.6                   -2.7
5. EMI                     9.7                             7.4                   +2.3

TOP 10 LABELS (%)

Label                    Current Share         Year Ago               +/

1. Columbia                 6.2                      8.2                      -2.0
2. IDJ                          6.0                      8.2                      -2.2
3. Int./A&M                5.9                      6.2                       -1.3
4. WB                          5.9                      6.0                       -0.1
5. Epic                         5.3                      6.1                        -0.8
6. Geffen                    5.2*                     5.8**                   -0.6
7. Universal                4.9                      4.9                         0.0
8. Atlantic                   4.5                      3.5                        +1.0
9. RCA/J                    4.2                       3.0**                   +1.2
10. Capitol                  3.5                      1.9                       +1.6

*Now includes MCA **Combined, pre-merger

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