HITS Daily Double


If we organized the market-share standings in brackets, employing the setup of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, the #1 seeds would belong to a pair of loaded squads coached by frequent champs Monte and Avery Lipman and John Janick. Together, two newly formed superpowers—the Lipman sibs’ Republic Corps and Janick’s Interscope Capitol Labels Group—control a stunning 27% of overall U.S. market share and 26% of current, with ICLG leading the way in the former category and Republic topping the latter. The fact that both these beefed-up label groups compete under the banner of Sir Lucian Grainge’s mighty UMG has given March Madness a whole new meaning.

The new Beast of the East—with Jim Roppo holding down the pivot—adds Tunji Balogun’s Def Jam to the Lipmans’ Republic (overseen by President/Chief Creative Officer Wendy Goldstein), Mercury (under Tyler Arnold and Ben Adelson), Island (helmed by Imran Majid and Justin Eshak) and IMPERIAL/Casablanca (presided over by Glenn Mendlinger). On top of that, Seth England’s new-country power Big Loud has just inked new distro deal with Mercury/Republic. Imagine having paradigm-shifters Taylor Swift, Morgan Wallen, Noah Kahan, Drake and Justin Bieber on the same team. For Monte it’s business as usual.

In the Western Regional, ICLG, overseen by Janick, Vice Chairman Steve Berman and COO Annie Lee, has been bolstered by a merger with Capitol Music Group, with Tom March and Lillia Parsa installed as chairman and president, respectively. Incorporating Capitol Records, Motown, Capitol Christian Music Group, Blue Note and CMG’s deep catalog with IGA’s potent mix of veteran playmakers Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga, among others, and next-gen superstars like Billie Eilish, O-Rod and Ice Spice makes Janick’s lineup fearsomely formidable.

There’s also action aplenty in the bracket just below these bicoastal behemoths. Aaron Bay-Schuck and Tom Corson are in the process of restoring Warner to its former glory—and they’re doing it, remarkably, with singer-songwriters, mirroring Mo Ostin and Lenny Waronker’s roster during the Bunny’s dynasty run. This new breed of storytellers is led by organic-country superstar Zach Bryan and enriched by recent guitar-pop breakouts Benson Boone and Teddy Swims, with Michael Marcagi on pace to become the next sharpshooter for the rejuvenated label. Warner is presently #4 in overall share and #3 in current, having overtaken in-house rival Atlantic in the latter metric for the first time in more than a decade.

RCA sits at #5 in current, a mere tenth of a point behind Atlantic, thanks to the A&R/artist-development chops of Peter Edge and his staff, whose pop breakthrough Tate McRae joins a female-dominated roster that includes TDE’s SZA, Doja Cat and Flo Milli as well as Bryson Tiller.

Sylvia Rhone’s Epic has come alive yet again, boasting a starting lineup of hip-hop superstars paced by Travis Scott, 21 Savage and Future, whose new album with Republic’s Metro Boomin (the first of two) should bring the recently embattled genre back to its accustomed prominence on the DSPs and the charts.

The market-share chart below doesn’t reflect Grainge’s Uni reorg, but the next time you see it, the chart will contain the changes enumerated immediately above. Think of these ICLG and Republic Corps stats as a sneak preview of the new world order.