It was the year of the new artist at Atlantic Records, and chairman/COO Julie Greenwald spearheaded the innovative, creative and aggressive campaigns that helped those acts break through. "Our dream is to build artists with careers," she says. "To have so many diverse artists breaking in different genres is amazing." Three new Atlantic acts made impressive debuts: Christina Perri's lovestrong album reached the top five on the Billboard 200 on the strength of her single "Jar of Hearts" (2.8 million sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan), Wiz Khalifa's Rolling Papers debuted at No. 2 with a run of hits including "Roll Up" (1.6 million sold), and Bruno Mars' Doo-Wops & Hooligans has sold 1.3 million, making him one of the most successful new artists of 2011. The rookie releases buoyed a banner year for the label, which had seven albums debut in the top 10. "We have incredible A&R staff here, an unbelievable marketing and promotions department filled with such attention to artist development," Greenwald says. "From touring to digital and more, every aspect of an artist rollout is well thought-out."
Credited by members of her team as "a mentor to many" who has created a culture where "everyone is encouraged to have a voice and take risks," Greenwald is the highest-ranking executive among the major labels cited in this report. "Yesterday's way of rolling out a record is just that," she says. "It's all about trying new things. Every day we're experimenting with new strategies and just trying to think differently."