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UMG tops the Big Four in total albums sales year-to-date with 31.6%, barely above last year’s 31.5%, but full 7.6% ahead of its closest rival, Sony BMG at 24.0%, down 1.5% over last year.
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It’s that time of the year again, as the stretch run for the all-important Q4 begins and the labels bring out their big guns in anticipation of the holiday selling season, which can make or break a company’s year. 
    
At the two-thirds mark of 2006, Antonio “L.A.” Reid’s Island Def Jam Records is the leader in new releases with a 6.3%, down .3% from same time last year, but still a hair ahead of Tom Whalley’s Warner Bros. Records, boasting a 6.2%, down .1% from a similar point in 2005.
    
UMG tops the Big Four in total albums sales year-to-date with 31.6%, barely above last year’s 31.5%, but full 7.6% ahead of its closest rival, Sony BMG at 24.0%, down 1.5% over last year. Warner Music Group is up 1.5% at 16%, while EMI is down .6% at 9.1%.
    
In the label race, top gainer is Clive DavisRCA Music Group, up 1.6% to 4.7%, good for eighth place. Universal Records Group (3.5-4.8%) and Geffen (1.8-3.1%) have the next biggest increases at 1.3% apiece, while Columbia (5.6-5.7%), Disney (4.4-5.1%), Jive/Zomba (2.0-3.1%), Epic (2.7-2.8%), Sony BMG Nashville (2.3-2.5%), UMG Nashville (1.2-2.0%) and Virgin (1.6-1.7%) are also up.

For a full chart, click here.

Other fascinating factoids:

-Percentage of total digital sales is up 6.7%, from last year’s eight-month mark of 21.5% to 28.2% this year.

-Indies’ share of the marketplace rises from 18.7% in 2005  to 19.5% to the same point this year, up .8%.

-Madacy remains the larg- est pure indie with a new release album share of (1.3%), followed by Koch Records (.7%) and Victory Records (.6%).

-If EMI and WMG had joined forces, they would have a combined total marketshare of 25.1%, which would put them ahead of Sony BMG’s 24% by 1.1%.

-Disney has the two top-selling albums of the year to date in High School Musical (3.0m) and Lyric Street’s Rascal Flatts (2.4m).

-Atlantic has two in the Top 10 in James Blunt (#3, 1.8m) and rapper T.I. (#9, 1.4m).

-The rest of the Top 10 includes Arista’s Carrie Underwood (#4, 1.7m), Geffen’s Mary J. Blige (#5, 1.6m), Columbia’s Dixie Chicks (#6, 1.5m), UMe’s Now 21 (#7, 1.5m), Roadrunner/IDJ’s Nickelback (#8, 1.4m) and Warner Bros.’ Red Hot Chili Peppers (#10, 1.3m).

-In all, UMG has five albums in the Top 10 year-to-date (including two from Disney), WMG has three and Sony BMG two.

-EMI’s best-selling album is Capitol Nashville’s Keith Urban at #33.

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