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John Legend, Tony Bennett, Bob Dylan, John Mayer, Beyonce and the upcoming Dreamgirls soundtrack should continue to keep Columbia at or near the top of the leader board.

TEN DOWN, TWO TO GO

Columbia, IDJ Lead Label New Release Race, While UMG Continues to Top Total Group Share
As 2006 winds down and the record industry enters into the teeth of the holiday selling season, Steve Barnett’s Columbia Records and L.A. Reid’s Island Def Jam are virtually tied for the top of the new release marketshare list at 6.4%.

Columbia’s number represents a .4% increase over ’05, thanks in large part to the Dixie Chicks, #7 on this year’s album sales chart, selling upwards of 1.6 million. Expect sales to continue through the end of the year, thanks to Grammy buzz, a critically acclaimed documentary and a re-released deluxe edition of the album. John Legend, Tony Bennett, Bob Dylan, John Mayer, Beyonce and the upcoming Dreamgirls soundtrack should continue to keep Columbia at or near the top of the leader board.

Island Def Jam was off more than half-a-percentage point from last year, when it boasted three of 2005’s top albums in #2 Mariah Carey (3.5m), #9 The Killers (1.8m) and #10 Kanye West (1.8m). So far this year, IDJ’s highest-charted album is Roadrunner’s Nickelback (1.8m) at #5, Def Jam’s Ne-Yo (1.3m) at #14 and Johnny Cash’s greatest hits (1.2m) at #18, but the company will have what is shaping up as 2006’s biggest seller when it releases Jay-Z’s much-ballyhooed Kingdom Come on Nov. 21. Whether that’s enough to move them past Columbia remains to be seen, but it should be close.

Bob Cavallo’s Buena Vista Music Group was 2006’s biggest surprise, topping the gainers at 2.2%, up to 5.0%, with the top two albums year-to-date in High School Musical (3.2m) and Lyric Street’s Rascal Flatts (2.6m). They’ve also had success with such cable TV-generated smashes as The Cheetah Girls, Aly & AJ, High School alumnus Vanessa Hudgens and their latest chart-topper, the Hannah Montana soundtrack.

Jimmy Iovine’s always-competitive Interscope/A&M is #4 in current marketshare at 5.3%, off nearly 4% from last year at this time, when it boasted three of the Top 10 albums in #1 50 Cent (4.7m), #6 The Game (2.2m) and #7 Gwen Stefani (2.1m).  This year, it hasn’t landed one album in the Top 10 to date, with its strongest showing thus far being the Pussycat Dolls at #12, but that will change when it unleashes albums from Stefani, U2 (greatest hits with two new tracks, including the current collaboration with Green Day), an Eminem mix CD and Tupac, while Iovine’s Geffen comes with The Game and Snoop Dogg.

Barry WeissZomba Label Group was the year’s other big gainer, landing at #9, but up almost a full percentage point from last year at 3.5%, thanks to such big sellers as Jive’s Justin Timberlake (#13) and Volcano’s Tool (#17).

Doug MorrisUMG is once again the year’s total marketshare leader at 31.3%, followed by Sony BMG (24.7%), Warner Music Group (15.5%, and the only gainer, up .7% from 2005) and EMI (9.2%).

This year’s album sales leader, High School Musical, is well below last year’s leader, 50 Cent, who had sold 4.7m to this point in 2005. Counting the two Disney releases it distributed, UMGD has a total of five in this year’s Top 10, while WMG’s WEA had three and Sony BMG two.

See the complete marketshare chart here.

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