HITS Daily Double


WHO GETS CAKE?: The blistering streak enjoyed by Interscope gives Janick, Joie and company a YTD marketshare slice of 10.3, 1.1m units ahead of second-place Atlantic (10.1), which held the top share the prior three years running, after Columbia’s Adele/One Direction-fueled 2015-16 domination. IGA’s margin is powered by such giants as DaBaby, Juice WRLD, Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish, as well as consistent movers like Mosco’s Rod Wave and Lil Durk, LVRN’s Summer Walker and plenty more.

Monte Lipman’s Republic, for its part, is enjoying a strong second half of 2020 and a solid #3 berth (8.0), aided by Victor Victor’s Pop Smoke and Island. He’s had the #1 album for 17 weeks since the start of the lockdown. The label has gotten exceptional mileage from the latest set by superstar and marketing whiz Taylor Swift, who could sell ice to an Eskimo. Meanwhile, The Weeknd, Post Malone and Drake just keep throwing off big numbers.

BRAUN BUSY: Justin Bieber’s appearance on Saturday Night Live in the wake of his releasing two new singles proved an excellent showcase for the RBMG/Def Jam artist’s recent creative growth and the renewed strength of his brand. As the response on the socials underscored, Bieber’s performance, particularly on the painfully honest Benny Blanco collab “Lonely,” was among his strongest TV moments ever. The song and his delivery reflected the long road back from his wild-child misadventures and a perspective that was sober in all senses of the word. It was also a killer vocal performance sparked by expert dynamics. Above all, the performances confirmed the Scooter Braun-repped star’s career longevity. Could his SNL appearance be the final step in breaking down Grammy’s resistance to Bieber’s latter-day work? Or, like so many artists today, does he not give a shit?

Braun is also welcoming the return of superdiva Ariana Grande, whose new single is out and looking big. Ari achieved new career heights over the last two years thanks to two Republic albums dropped in quick succession that saw her become the first pop star who’d been established before the streaming revolution to conquer that ecosystem. Her prior set, thank u, next (released in February 2019, aka 10 million years ago), holds the record for first-week streams by a female artist, with 307m, thanks in large part to the title track and the unstoppable “7 rings.” She hasn’t won in the Big Four Grammy categories yet, despite having been nominated; her live release and her Bieber and Gaga duets fall within the current eligibility window. Could she be on the next telecast? Would she want to be?

OPEN SECRETS: Speaking of Grammy, is it possible that the secret screening committees might be different this year? Or will the same “you scratch my back” game go on? The Recording Academy has set some new rules regarding conflict of interest in these committees, in which every important nomination is decided by culling the list of top vote-getters in each category. Over the last few years, many observers have come to believe the Nashville chapter and its screening committee are the most conflicted of all time. All eyes will therefore be on those nominations, as certain consultants play a very large role in the decision-making process and make no bones about how much influence they’re pedaling. The BNA secret screening committee should also be a wild one—and worthy of a two-hour documentary—as the new line in the sand for qualification is when the artist “first came to prominence.” This has already led to some culling on the first ballot. So far, the Nashville chapter has not been accused of voter suppression. But hey, it’s still early.