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The biggest gainer in both categories is Bob Cavallo’s Disney/Hollywood, now #5 in new releases on a hefty 1.5% gain, thanks primarily to High School Musical and Rascal Flatts (who racked up the year’s biggest first-week total), as well as the company’s firm hold on the youth market.

MARKETSHARE REPORT: THREE DOWN, ONE TO GO

UMG Tops Total Group Marketshare, Columbia Edges IDJ in New Releases and WB for Total
At the end of three quarters, the music business has maintained the status quo in this era of diminished expectations and digital hopefulness. In terms of the big picture, #1 UMG, #2 Sony BMG and #4 EMI are all within a fraction of a percentage point of their respective marketshares at the same point a year ago. Only Warner Music Group, which wheeled out its heavy artillery in anticipation of the deal that didn’t happen with EMI, managed to gain ground, adding just over a point to its piece of the pie.

The situation turned out to be far more interesting on the label front. The Barnett Era at Columbia got off to an impressive start, as the once-mighty but recently struggling label battled back to #1 in both new-release and total marketshare, edging out IDJ in the former category and besting Warner Bros. in the latter. Incoming label topper Steve Barnett should continue this turnaround on the shoulders of franchise artists Bob Dylan, Beyonce and John Mayer. Columbia’s chances of staying on top will also be impacted by octogenarian Tony Bennett (whose duets album shows early indications of becoming THE adult record to buy as the holiday season approaches) and the follow-up from Best New Artist Grammy winner John Legend.

L.A. Reid’s IDJ, which stays at #2 in new releases and rises to #3 in total releases despite a slight dip from this point in 2005, is looking to Ludacris, Jay-Z and The Killers to turn up the heat in Q4. Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope A&M, which was way out in front of the pack at this point in the new-release category in 2005, has experienced the biggest slippage, dropping 4% in new releases and 2.8% overall due to a paucity of blockbusters on its release schedule. The label is hoping for big things from The Game’s follow-up album and a new Gwen Stefani, while a remix collection of Eminem songs provides the X factor.

The biggest gainer in both categories is Bob Cavallo’s Disney/Hollywood, now #5 in new releases on a hefty 1.5% gain, thanks primarily to High School Musical and Rascal Flatts (who racked up the year’s biggest first-week total), as well as the company’s firm hold on the youth market, which should be further evidenced when Hilary Duff’s next album streets in November.

RCA Music Group, currently sitting at #8 in new releases and #7 total, will rely on its American Idol franchise to gain ground over the last three months of 2006. On the schedule are debut albums from winner Taylor Hicks, runners-up Katharine McPhee and Chris Daughtry and alumnus Ruben Studdard. On top of that, singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan comes with her first album in three years, while crooner Rod Stewart tries something different, singing a bunch of rock standards, as Clive Davis and Charles Goldstuck continue to enjoy the next best thing to printing money.

The same thing could be said of Barry WeissZomba Label Group, presently #9 in new releases, which will ride the Justin Timberlake express right through the end of the year, with Ciara joining him in early December.

It’s said that games are won and lost in the fourth quarter. Check back with us in three months for the final score. For a complete chart, click here.

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