From Bruno’s big wins to K. Michelle’s R&B breakthrough, Atlantic stayed ahead of the curve
“Nothing is tried and true anymore,” Atlantic’s Julie Greenwald says, reflecting on the past year.
“What we think worked before isn’t necessarily moving the needle. So the challenge is to remain mindful of the changing landscape while staying true to Atlantic’s mantra: breaking artists and building careers—and not getting caught up in just breaking a song.”
Among the Atlantic acts personifying that mantra is Bruno Mars. He ended 2013 with Billboard’s artist of the year honors, the coveted halftime slot at the upcoming Super Bowl and several Grammy nods, including record and song of the year for “Locked Out of Heaven.” Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran, a best new artist nominee, continued his career momentum by selling out three nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Atlantic continued to ramp up its presence outside of pop in 2013 as well. In R&B, reality-TV star K. Michelle had a surprise No. 2 bow on the Billboard 200—the highest debut album for a female R&B singer since 2001. New comer Sevyn Streeter’s “It Won’t Stop” was a Hot 100 hit, and Janelle Monáe was named rising star at Billboard’s Women in Music event.
Rapper Wiz Khalifa and country up-and-comer Hunter Hayes both earned Grammy nominations, and Brett Eldredge’s debut landed at No. 2 on Top Country Albums. EDM-focused Big Beat lived up to its name with Icona Pop’s hit “I Love It.” All told, Atlantic finished 2013 with a market share of 6.3%.
“The No. 1 job is to keep raising the bar,” Craig Kallman says. “That’s why we continue to shift as much energy, time, resources and manpower to the recording studio—to be as great a partner as we can be to the artist and help them realize their creative vision.”
Greenwald says the label is also focused on adapting to the growing power of such services as Beats Music and iTunes Radio. “We used to measure success by the one-time purchase of an album or single. Now it’s based on how many times they’ve been played over and over again. The whole industry has to think and act differently now to keep artists connected with their fans.”