Broke Lorde and became “Royals” of their own by becoming the No. 1 label by current plus TEA market share
Avery Lipman can best encapsulate Republic’s 2013 in the month of September.
“We had an album of major consequence for six weeks straight,” he says of the time period that had new releases from Ariana Grande, Jack Johnson, the Weeknd, Drake, Lorde, Cassadee Pope and Pearl Jam. “I can’t say you necessarily plan like that, but it represented a combination of a lot of hard work over the last couple years. It was a nice moment.”
In a challenging year for music, current album sales were still up 3.5% year over year across all formats, according to Nielsen SoundScan, to 63.3 million units from 60.2 million. Republic outperformed the industry in current album and track-equivalent album sales with a 9.9% market share and 20.9 million in sales, nearly two full points ahead of Interscope.
How’d the Lipman brothers pull it off? By breaking more new acts than any other major (Lorde, Grande, Florida Georgia Line, and star-making sets from the Weeknd and James Blake), scoring soundtrack hits (“Les Misérables,” “Pitch Perfect,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”) and making stars out of “The Voice” alums Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery. (Up next: fall 2013 winner Tessanne Chin.)
Further enhancing Republic’s power structure are joint ventures with Big Machine, Lava and Cash Money, as well as the label’s early-2013 addition of executive VP Charlie Walk, and A&R heads Tom Mackay on the West Coast and Rob Stevenson on the East Coast.
“I would put these guys against anyone in the business—they’re that good,” Monte Lipman says. “We embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, which really starts with [Universal Music Group chairman/CEO] Lucian Grainge, and we take tremendous pride in the way our company is set up versus the traditional model. We really encourage these iconic record people to join forces with us and create these strategic alliances that can really empower the whole team.”
Looking to the coming months, Avery is banking on Grande, Austin Mahone and Jessie J as they ready new music—including Grande’s follow-up to Yours Truly, just released last September, and the highly anticipated debut from Mahone.