HITS Daily Double
H1 2017

Warner's moneymakers: Sheeran, Blavatnik, Lousada

Max Lousada’s WMG was the biggest gainer in H1 2017 U.K. marketshare with an AES figure of 19.8%—up from 17.5% at the end of last year, thanks to an excellent Q1 with Ed Sheeran. While Universal and Sony have gained this last quarter, both labels are down on their 2016 year-end stats.

Numbers are calculated using the AES (Album Equivalent Sales) metric. That comprises physical and digital album sales, track equivalent albums (where 1k streams = one album) and also includes budget albums. The measure came into effect between Q1 and Q2 last year, which is why comparing H1 2017 with H1 2016 and H1 2015 isn’t like for like. However, we’ll include those numbers as an interesting addition.

It’s interesting to observe Warner’s rise over the last few years. In 2015, the label ended with 17.2%, climbing to 17.5% in 2016 and hitting 19.8% in H1 2017. Its mid-year 2016 figure was 18.2%. The label has had a strong six months paced by albums from Sheeran, Gorillaz, Linkin Park, Paramore, Royal Blood and Dua Lipa. Of the seven U.K. #1 singles so far in 2017, Warner claims three and has held the top spot for 16 weeks out of 27. Ben Cook’s Atlantic is its strongest imprint and takes second-best-performing record company this quarter on the all-albums AES tally with 8.0%. Can WMG keep up the pace in H2?

David Joseph’s Universal has enjoyed a fair Q2, with its 35.2% marketshare back up to strength after dipping to 33.3% in Q1—H1 2017 therefore sits at 34.3%. That’s 0.7% down from 35.0%, where it ended 2016 (34.9% mid-year) after also experiencing a dip from 2015’s 35.4%. In terms of what’s to come, we know Sam Smith is in the release schedule as well as a follow-up to last year’s Decca-released blockbuster from Ball & Boe. “Despacito” has been its biggest singles success story YTD with eight weeks at #1, while dance tracks from Polydor and 3beat appear in the half-year bestsellers list alongside albums from Drake and Take That. Ted Cockle’s Virgin EMI continues to top the record company tally at #1 on 9.7% in Q2, followed by Ben Mortimer and Tom March’s Polydor at #3 with 7.5%.

At 23.8% for H1 2017, Jason Iley’s Sony is down 0.5% on its 2016 annual stat of 24.3%—but significantly up on its H1 2016 tally of 22.0%—after rising from 22.3% in 2015. There’s been a marginal gain of 0.1% from Q1 to Q2 2017. Its biggest albums this year so far have come from Rag’n’Bone Man, Little Mix, Harry Styles, London Grammar and Kasabian. Led by David Dollimore, RCA is its best-performing imprint in Q2 with 7.5%, followed by Ferdy Unger-Hamilton's Columbia with 6.3%.

The indie sector had a 22.3% share in H1 2017—down 0.9% from 2016's annual 23.2% and H1’s 24.9%.

Overall in the U.K. market, there’s good news for audio streams, which are up 51.1% in Q2, while total AES is also up 12.5%, according to sales stats seen in Music Week and provided by the Official Charts Company and BPI.

Physical album sales were down 3.5% y-o-y in Q2, digital albums down 25.1% and the singles/tracks category is down 23.6%.