Publishers Quarterly: Ed Sheeran's 'Shape of You' Dominates, Sony/ATV Stays On Top

Greg Williams
Ed Sheeran

In a first quarter defined by continuity, Sony/ATV Music Publishing extended its market share lead for the 19th straight period, having kept the top spot since it became a shareholder in -- and took over administration for -- EMI Music Publishing in the third quarter of 2012. And for the second successive period, the top three music publishers -- Sony/ATV, Warner/Chappell Music and Universal Music Publishing Group, respectively -- all own a stake in the top song, Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You," as does BMG. (Last quarter, the top song was the Chainsmokers' "Closer.")

Sony/ATV had 53 of the top 100 radio songs, one fewer than last quarter, while Warner/Chappell was No. 2 for the eighth period in a row with 49 songs, up from 46. Also, for the fifth straight quarter, UMPG (40), Kobalt Music Group (30), BMG (24) and SONGS Music Publishing (eight) finished Nos. 3 through 6, with all but UMPG down slightly from the last quarter. The top songwriter was again Warner/Chappell's Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots, whose group had three songs in the Top 100, led by "Heathens" at No. 33.

Sony/ATV held a commanding market share lead over Warner/Chappell Music, 25.49 percent to 19.61 percent. While Warner/Chappell was the No. 2 publisher again, it displaced Sony/ATV at the top of the country publishers' rankings in the first quarter for the Top 100 country songs, the second time it has done so since Sony/ATV began handling EMI. In third overall, UMPG had a nice uptick to 14.89 percent from the 14.13 percent it had in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Meanwhile, for the third consecutive quarter in a row, Words & Music/Big Deal came in at No. 7 with a 2.58 percent share, led by its top song, Shawn Mendes' "Mercy." Major Bob Music makes the top publishers chart at No. 8 for the first time since the second quarter of 2013, with five songs placing in the top 100; its top song, Jon Pardi’s "Dirt On My Boots," came in at No. 21. Rounding out the top 10, Clearbox Rights ranked No. 9 with 1.35 percent, while Round Hill Music came in at No. 10, with 1.29 percent.

SOURCE: The rankings measure the market share of publishing administrators and are based on Nielsen Music rankings of the top 100 radio airplay songs for the quarter and song splits compiled by The Harry Fox Agency. Nielsen detected play on 1,870 pop stations and 313 country stations between Jan. 1, 2017, and Mar. 31, 2017. For the songwriter rankings, the number of spins each song received during the quarter is divided evenly among its songwriters, then the total spins for each top 100 song in which a songwriter has a share are tallied. The Top 10 Songs chart lists as each song’s publishers only those that are on the Top 10 Publishers list.