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NEAR TRUTHS:
IT TAKES A GLOBAL VILLAGE

PIE FIGHT: The latest marketshare standings at the top of Q2 show two dramatic dead-heat contests: between John Janick’s Interscope and Atlantic for the #1 spot (at 10.5 apiece) and between Monte Lipman’s Republic and Steve Barnett’s Capitol for #3 (7.7 each). Ron Perry’s Columbia owns the #5 lane with 7.2. Once the big pop, rock and country tours are taken out of the mix, along with their attendant ticket bundles and other sales, the balance shifts somewhat; even so, most majors are sufficiently diversified to be insulated. How will those rankings change over the course of the year, particularly as the quarantine continues to flip the accustomed dynamics of the biz? One thing’s for certain: these strong numbers reflect the top scorers’ aggressive leadership in an evolving marketplace, where (mostly new) streaming acts have become the tail that wags the dog. But rock and country could lose share in the short term.

WITH EVERY CRISIS AN OPPORTUNITY: One fascinating unintended consequence of the plague economy is that, with major acts postponing the big tours that are their bread and butter, they’re also delaying the release of the new music that would ordinarily be used to promote those tours. This has opened up considerable opportunity for hot emerging artists—and other acts that stream—at DSPs and on the radio. Pop radio has only recently begun leaning into streaming hits; now, with superstar releases from the likes of Lady Gaga, Sam Smith and others in a holding pattern, there are even more open spots on the streaming and spin charts. (It appears that The Killers and The Dixie Chicks will bump their scheduled releases, and new drops by Luke Bryan, Norah Jones, Bon Jovi and OneRepublic, among others, are now TBD).

GLOBAL VILLAGE: Some of the aforementioned new acts to bust out of the gate recently are Republic’s BENEE, Columbia’s Powfu and 10k ProjectsSurfaces. These artists, like Columbia’s Arizona Zervas, Kemosabe/RCA’s Doja Cat and multiple other breakouts of the past year or so, made big noise on Spotify’s Global chart, which has become one of the key metrics for breakout projects, especially pop-leaning ones. Powfu is now #6 on this worldwide chart, while Surfaces and BENEE are #13 and #15, respectively. To a considerable extent, acts that blow up there will follow a similar trajectory on the other leading indicators. More importantly, U.S. Pop radio has woken up to the phenomenon.

At the same time, it’s worth noting that Apple Music (which recently touted substantial year-over-year growth in subs, as did Amazon Music), remains much more hip-hop-focused than does the Spot, and even some projects that dominate on Apple’s U.S. chart don’t make much of a dent at Spotify. These two services have different DNA—they are in many ways roughly analogous to Pop and Rhythm radio formats—and understanding this disparity has enabled the best music-marketing execs to strategize more effectively.

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