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NEAR TRUTHS:
NEW SCHOOL

NEW SCHOOL: As we roll out our New & Developing Artists issue, it bears repeating that new acts are firmly driving the business. Look at the number of artists at the top of the DSP charts who weren’t even on the map until the last few years: Olivia Rodrigo, The Kid LAROI, Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, Lil Baby, Morgan Wallen, DaBaby, Glass Animals, Moneybagg Yo, Lil Durk, Polo G and on and on. These acts have streamed solidly and consistently, most of them keeping the insatiable maw of the new marketplace fed with fresh content.

That our charts are still so dependent on the album format seems arcane in what has become a decidedly song-driven business. But since we’re so accustomed to thinking in album units, bear this equation in mind: Olivia Rodrigo has sold nearly 900k album equivalents in the U.S. just on the strength of her two smash tracks, “drivers license” and “good 4 u.”

Not that albums don’t matter, of course; it’s clear that many of the artists listed above—as well as the established acts of the last decade who remain viable in DSP-land—see their albums streamed, in their entirety, in great numbers. Which is one reason why having a lot of tracks aids in chart showings. And the album itself is a moving target. In addition to releasing far more albums and mixtapes than ever before, the biggest acts are regularly deluxe-ing up prior releases.

Physical retail’s place in the ecosystem, too, has evolved. Deluxe CDs offer exclusive tracks that are typically windowed, while vinyl has become the big kahuna of tangible recorded-music artifacts. How many of the fans who shell out $30-40 for lavish LP editions even own a turntable? Whether for playing or just keeping on a shelf, vinyl—despite its myriad manufacturing and other challenges—is still king.

IT’S SO “EASY”: Adele is not new, but her every return to the marketplace feels fresh. There was speculation in some circles that she might struggle to make an impact in the streaming era, and as we’ve noted in some detail, that has not thus far been the case. “Easy on Me” remains a streaming giant as it begins its third week, holding the top spot internationally on the key DSP charts and ramping up anticipation for album 30, due 11/19.

Adele's CBS special, with an Oprah interview, is sure to saturate the culture and kick things up a further notch or two. In the U.K., Adele will offer an ITV special on 11/21 with its own interview and a London Palladium performance.

Meanwhile, demand for the megastar’s two AEG-presented Hyde Park London shows next summer is said to have exceeded the number of available seats by a factor of 10—we’re talking about 1.3m requests for the two shows’ 130k tickets. Word is that a Live Nation-promoted residency at Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas is almost a done deal.

RON’S BIG RUN: Ron Perry’s Columbia has owned the Top 3 spots worldwide at the DSPs for the last few weeks as the Adele streaming juggernaut joined up with two of the great artist-development stories of the last year, The Kid LAROI and Lil Nas X, both of whom have ruled radio formats across the board. You couldn’t be much hotter than Columbia without bursting into flames as one successful new-artist story after another rolls through Big Red’s system.

Add Adele’s 11/19 album to the cocktail—not to mention rumors of Beyoncé and Harry Styles' dropping in the next 60-90 days—and you have one of the great turnaround stories of the streaming era. Meanwhile, EVP/GM Jen Mallory is earning rave reviews for the role she’s played for Team Columbia, which looks unstoppable for a giant 2022.

 

 

 

 

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