Power Move: Had three of the top five-selling U.S. albums last year, and was the No. 1 U.S. label.
Rundown: With Adele’s powerhouse hit 21 driving Columbia’s fortunes during the last two years, it’s no surprise that Rob Stringer had the biggest U.S. label for the second year in a row, with an 8.7% market share. Boasting sales of 4.4 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, 21 was the highest-selling album of the year, and Columbia became the first label in the post-1991 SoundScan era to achieve that honor for a second consecutive year.
But it wasn’t all about Adele. Undoubtably, Columbia’s breakout act for 2012 was One Direction, with albums Up All Night and Take Me Home, respectively, named the No. 3 (1.6 million) and No. 5 (1.3 million) best sellers for the year.
Stringer is focused on having a diverse roster of acts, and the label has already kicked off 2013 with one of the year’s surprise comebacks: David Bowie’s first album in a decade, The Next Day. “I had been talking with [Bowie] since October about this project,” Stringer says. “I’m now at my most positive that we can cope with this kind of thing better than ever.”