HITS Daily Double


SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE: The marketshare stats at the halfway point of 2022 haven’t shifted meaningfully since the beginning of the year.

Interscope Geffen A&M continues to lead with 9.8. It’s worth noting that John Janick’s biggest successes have resulted from old-school A&R and development (Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, TDE’s Kendrick Lamar), boosted by data-informed strategy. He wisely tapped Tom March to head Geffen. His deals with HYBE for BTS and their pending solo careers and a girl group now under construction are also proving significant.

Atlantic’s cluster of labels, Atlantic, Elektra and 300, are right behind with 9.3. Republic remains in third place with 7.9. Monte Lipman has made aggressive moves to expand its footprint with IslandImran Majid and Justin Eshak are establishing a strong foundation early in their tenure—and Mercury while continuing to enjoy big chart share with his stable of top acts, including Taylor Swift, Drake, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Morgan Wallen and Post Malone.

Columbia (6.9) retains three superstars in Adele, Harry Styles and the resurgent Beyoncé, has had a huge year with The Kid LAROI and Lil Nas X, is enjoying growth with Baby Keem and has also seen multiple one-off hits from new acts. Ron Perry is not only doing the analysis but also working in the studio, overseeing cuts like an old-school record man. No one in the biz is more hands-on. Parkwood’s Beyoncé now has her first true hit in several years as “BREAK MY SOUL” demonstrates legs at streaming and blows out at radio.

Warner (6.2) has two smashes in the resurgent Kate Bush and a juggernaut from Joji. It’s in a fairly tight heat with Capitol (6.0, aided by Virgin, Christian and more). RCA, for its part, has some heat with multiple hits, led by Doja Cat, Latto and Jazmine Sullivan, earning a 5.

THE END OF THE SURPRISE PARTY: The 6/16 surprise release by Drake seems to have sent a strong message to artists and their reps and labels that the out-of-the-blue drop has lost its luster. The set’s 200k+ first-week total certainly surprised every handicapper, DSP and top exec in the biz; Drake is coming off a string of huge records, like last year’s Certified Lover Boy, which bowed with north of 600k, and 2019’s Scorpion, which did more than 730k its first week. Would a hit track prior to release go a long way toward avoiding underwhelming first-week results? What kind of recovery can we expect from the streaming colossus? Only time will tell. Republic’s high-octane machine is planning its next move, as street track “Jimmy Cooks” f/21 Savage appears to have real legs at Apple and Spotify. The clubby “Massive” is at present their big push at Pop radio; they're going hard with “Sticky” at Rhythm.

Nonetheless, the consensus is that not having a great marketing plan to help set up a mass-appeal new album by a superstar act is passé—and having a hit track or tracks and high-profile video ahead of release is the way to go in the present ecosystem. Just look at some of the year’s other big sets: Harry Styles supercharged his chart bow by first releasing single and video “As It Was.” Epic’s Future dropped single "worst day" before his album. TDE/ Interscope’s Kendrick Lamar released freestanding song and video “The Heart Part 5” ahead of his huge set. Even the queen of the surprise drop, Beyoncé, has delivered a single about six weeks ahead of her expected album (due 7/29), which Columbia is using to drive its marketing campaign. When it comes to creating awareness and excitement among audiences, whetting fans’ appetites with a new song and/or clip seems far preferable tactically to just appearing unexpectedly with an IG post. All eyes are now on Epic’s Travis Scott to see how he plays this in the fall.

THANKYOUVERYMUCH: Catalog is of course a major factor in the marketshare calculations, and wonderers are wondering if RCA’s Elvis Presley will become a streaming phenom as Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis film proves boffo at the box office. Doja Cat’s single from the soundtrack is already a hit. Once on-demand streaming and awards season kick in, could The King’s catalog hits find an entirely new audience? Catalog’s share of the streaming pie is already huge and ever-growing. The recent explosion of Kate Bush thanks to Stranger Things shows just how powerful the right visual platform can be, as did Fleetwood Mac’s TikTok bounty, Queen’s biopic and the Super Bowl hip-hop extravaganza.