HITS Daily Double


With one third of 2017 in the books and the halfway point in sight, the most telling indicator of the marketshare rankings below is the comparison between each label’s sales-plus-streaming percentage and that for on-demand audio streams. The six labels whose share in audio streams exceeds their SPS share—Atlantic, Republic, Interscope, RCA, Epic and Def Jam—are among the labels most deeply committed to focusing their A&R resources on hip-hop and younger-skewing, R&B-flavored pop, which together have a virtual stranglehold on the streaming business.

Republic’s trendsetting Drake and The Weeknd, as well as the emerging Post Malone; TDE/Interscope’s massive Kendrick Lamar, along with IGA’s Rae Sremmurd, Selena Gomez, J. Cole, Zedd and Machine Gun Kelly; RCA’s Khalid, Justin Timberlake and Chris Brown; Epic’s hip-hop triumvirate of Future, DJ Khaled and Travis Scott, plus the emerging French Montana; and Def Jam’s Big Sean and recent SPS chart-topper Logic are among the mix of superstars and up-and-comers who are leading the way for their respective labels in the industry’s growth market. All of the above acts have one or more entries in the YTD Top 50 Streamed Songs chart aside from Logic, whose climbing single featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid is only in its second week of availability.

Julie Greenwald and Craig Kallman’s Atlantic, which is #1 in each metric year-to-date with 10.4% in SPS and 12.1% in streams share, has five of the Top 10 audio-streamed singles with Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Kyle and a pair from Migos (who recently inked a deal with Motown/Capitol for future releases), exemplifying the balance of hip-hop and pop the label has been able to maintain in recent months. With video streams added, Atlantic accounts for all of the Top 5 with Migos, Sheeran, Kyle, Bruno and Kodak Black.

Columbia, #2 in SPS with 9.5%, is nearly a full percentage point lower in streaming share, indicative of the more diversified roster—in keeping with Big Red’s time-honored tradition—favored by Rob Stringer during his years running the label before ascending to CEO of Sony Music in April. Core Columbia artists like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand and Billy Joel, as well as younger left-of-center acts including Jack White, Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem and The Shins, appeal to an audience that remains more inclined to purchase than to stream, while Beyoncé’s exclusive with Tidal for Lemonade has severely limited her streaming number. That has left The Chainsmokers to do much of the heavy lifting, and they’ve come through, with three of the 50 most-streamed songs in the audio category and four with video streams added. The duo’s debut album is also Columbia’s highest-ranked in the SPS Top 50 at #8.

While streaming is just starting to take hold in the country market, UMG Nashville has a slight edge, thanks primarily to the trailblazing Sam Hunt, who could be described only semi-facetiously as the Drake of country. Looking at SPS, Mercury Nashville’s Chris Stapleton is the highest-ranked country artist, as his 2015 breakthrough Traveller holds on at #28, while the new From A Room: Vol. 1 is already at #34.

There’s a tight race for bragging rights on the SPS Top 50 between Atlantic, with 10 entries and three in the Top 10, starting with #1 Ed Sheeran, and Monte Lipman’s perennial contender Republic, with nine, including Island’s Shawn Mendes. Each label has a pair of albums in the Top 5.

In terms of the big picture, Sir Lucian Grainge’s UMG has a 36 SPS share, putting the company more than nine percentage points ahead of the pack. Exemplifying its dominance thus far in 2017, Universal has more than 40% of the Top 50 SPS albums with 21, followed by Stringer’s Sony Music with 12, the Steve Cooper-led WMG with 10 and Ken Bunt’s Disney with three, all soundtracks.

Note: Where applicable, streams and sales generated by tracks prior to the release of the albums they appear on have been added to the SPS album totals.