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NEAR TRUTHS: THE GENRE GAME, AND OTHER AMUSEMENTS

FISHING IN THE STREAM: As we roll out our Nashville special, we note that after a year-plus of no touring, the labels have demonstrated increased importance in the country ecosystem with key acts (notably younger ones) proving their sustained streaming viability.

Randy Goodman’s Sony Music Nashville (Luke Combs, Kane Brown, Maren Morris), Mike Dungan and Cindy Mabe’s UMG Nashville (Sam Hunt, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton), Espo’s Warner Music Nashville (Gabby Barrett, Dan + Shay, Blake Shelton), Scott Borchetta’s BMLG (Thomas Rhett) and Seth England’s Big Loud (Morgan Wallen) have all made it rain during the concert drought. Now that established stars are returning to the road, how will those who waited to drop new music figure on the post-pandemic scoreboard?

THE CREATOR AND THE CAT: Our latest chart finds two big Sony releases in the top two positions. Tyler, The Creator’s new Columbia set demonstrates that the idiosyncratic artist retains a strong position in the mercurial hip-hop marketplace, and also a unique one: In addition to being a huge live act, he is that relative rarity among rappers, an album artist. He owns half the Spotify U.S. Top 10 and three spots on the Apple Music U.S. Top 10 as of this writing, as well as two cuts on Apple’s Global Top 10. His prior release, the acclaimed Igor, which took the Best Rap Album Grammy in 2020, has done 1.1m+ RTD. His chart-topping new full-length did 177k in its first week.

Meanwhile, RCA’s Doja Cat has hit a new plateau with her star-studded new album, and her global appeal continues as she bridges the worlds of pop, hip-hop and R&B and expands the reach of her distinctive brand. She holds three spots on both the Spotify and Apple Music U.S. Top 10s; “Kiss Me More,” her red-hot duet with SZA, sits in the global Top 10 on both platforms and has earned nearly 400m streams on Spotify alone. Doja’s debut album, Hot Pink, has racked up more than 1.3m RTD; she, of course, earned three 2021 Grammy noms, including BNA and ROTY. Her latest album bowed with 109k.

THE GENRE GAME: Hip-hop and R&B remain incredibly strong in five-year marketplace trends broken down by genre—rising to 29% YTD—but anecdotally it would appear pop is growing. And while we’ve yet to see a statistical uptick in the 13% or so of the market pop has commanded since 2017, it’s interesting to note that of 2021’s top sellers, there are few hip-hop records at the top.

The rise of a teen, female-leaning TikTok generation has lent credence to the notion that pop may be mounting a comeback, especially in the U.S. Olivia Rodrigo (still dominating), Billie Eilish (about to drop her hotly anticipated sophomore set), Taylor Swift (with multiple big sets) and Dua Lipa (still crushing) have been genre leaders, and BTS has expanded its reach well beyond the stans. Country, meanwhile, has remained solid at 8%, while currents are up an impressive 3% over 2020, 2019 and 2018 as top acts start to earn big streams.

Click the graphic for a larger view.

 

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