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2021 (NEARLY) FINAL MARKETSHARE

The 2021 marketshare battle has been waged against a backdrop of expanding valuations across the music biz, exemplified by UMG’s monumental 9/21 IPO, which set the company’s market value at $55 billion in Europe’s largest listing of the year. Sir Lucian Grainge’s bustling empire scores another dominating win with a 38.3% overall share of the market, virtually unchanged from its 2020 number.

Once again setting the pace is John Janick’s Interscope Geffen A&M, which surpasses 10% in overall share, with a whopping 11.2% in current. Rookie of the year Olivia Rodrigo has no less than four Top 50 song entries YTD, including #2 and 3, alongside the #2 album, while Moneybagg Yo (#16), the late Juice WRLD (#17 and 28), Billie Eilish (#15 and 41), Roc Nation’s J. Cole (#23), Machine Gun Kelly (#35) and Hall of Famer Eminem (#49) give IGA nine of the Top 50 albums YTD.

Monte Lipman’s Republic (#3 overall with 8.4%, #2 current with 10.8%), could legitimately be called 2021’s home of the hits, notching four of the Top 10 albums—#1 Morgan Wallen, #3 Drake, #4 Pop Smoke and #10 The Weeknd—with nine of the Top 25 and 12 of the Top 50. Taylor Swift is the only act with four Top 50 albums on the year-end chart (#13, 25, 26 and 32), while Ariana Grande (#20), Post Malone (#19) and Island’s Elton John (#46) likewise make the list. The label also boasts 11 Top 50 songs, four of them from Drake.

Capitol Music Group has slipped a slot to #5 in an off-cycle year, but Michelle Jubelirer’s crowning as Chairman/CEO bodes well for 2022. Coach K and P’s Quality Control, working closely with Motown chief Ethiopia Habtemariam, has been doing the heavy lifting through the transition, with Lil Baby’s best-selling album of 2020 holding strong at #12. The highly regarded Tunji Balogun inherits superstars Justin Bieber, with the #7 LP, and Ye at #30 as he seeks to reinvigorate Def Jam, which once again posts a 2.3% overall share. Transcendent country star Chris Stapleton is the flagship artist at Mike Dungan and Cindy Mabe’s UMG Nashville (2.0%). And Bob Roback-led Ingrooves, Uni’s indie distribbery (1.8% overall), which handled Bo Burnham and Top 5 debuts from TWICE and TXT, will distribute BTS’ next release via Geffen. 

Rob Stringer’s Sony Music is the only music group in the Big Three to register a year-over-year increase, closing the year at 26%, up three-tenths of a point. Much of that uplift is attributable to Ron Perry’s scorching-hot Columbia, which is now up to 7.1% and ascends to #4 in the standings as it culminates its best year of the streaming era. Big Red should be churning out the long green for the foreseeable future, thanks to a youth movement that includes high-scoring newcomer The Kid LAROI at #5, Polo G at #18 and 39, Lil Nas X at #24 and climbing, Harry Styles at #27 and Lil Tjay at #47. Polo G, LNX and The Kid also have two singles apiece in the Top 50 YTD Song Streams chart, including Top 10 entries for all three. Meanwhile Adele, who’s #6 with a bullet, has the biggest album of the year in pure sales, blowing past the 1m milestone.

The Orchard, Sony’s Brad Navin-led indie-distribution arm, has picked up half a point this year, finishing at 5.3%, while Peter Edge’s RCA is up .2 to 4.9% behind newly minted star Doja Cat, who scores the #8 album. Sylvia Rhone’s #9 Epic slips to 2.4% but notches Top 50 albums from GIVĒON and Travis Scott. And in Music City, Randy Goodman’s Sony Music Nashville (2.0%) boasts a bone fide superstar in Luke Combs, who has the #11 and 37 albums.

WMG’s two major-label groups are trending in different directions for CEO Steve Cooper, with Warner Records flat year over year at 6.2% overall as Dua Lipa explodes with 2021’s #1 single and #9 album, while #34 Fleetwood Mac epitomizes the value of catalog. Espo’s Warner Music Nashville continues to contribute consistently to Aaron Bay-Schuck and Tom Corson’s label share. Atlantic, by contrast, has slipped .7% to 9.2% in overall and 1.6% to 9.2% in current, dropping below Republic to #3 in the latter metric.

If we were giving out trophies for exceptional performances in 2021, Janick, Lipman and Perry would be at the top of the list, while the mighty Sir Lucian exists on a different plane altogether.

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