Publishers Quarterly: Sony/ATV Leads, While Lizzo Lifts Warner Chappell and Kobalt

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Lizzo performs on stage at FOMO Festival 2020 on Jan. 12, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. 

Sony/ATV finished 2019 strong, holding on to the top spot in market share for both the Top Radio Airplay and Hot 100 Songs charts, thanks to Lewis Capaldi and Post Malone.

During the fourth quarter, Sony/ATV had a whopping 24.93% market share of the 100 songs on the Top Radio Airplay chart -- six percentage points higher than Universal Music Publishing Group at 18.81%. Sony/ATV and UMPG each owned a stake in the publishing of 54 tracks on the chart, but Sony/ATV had stakes in the top five songs, including both the No. 1 and No. 2 hits, Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved” and Post Malone’s “Circles,” respectively.

On Hot 100 Songs, the competition was much closer. Sony/ATV had a stake in 46 titles, including the No. 1 “Circles,” while UMPG beat that count with a stake in 51 songs -- “Circles” among them. And UMPG’s Hot 100 Songs market share grew significantly over the course of 2019. In the first quarter, UMPG was behind Sony/ATV by nearly five percentage points -- 16.39%, compared with Sony’s 21.35%. In the second quarter, it jumped to the top spot with 22.62% versus Sony’s diminished 20.49%. Then, in the third quarter, UMPG saw a small uptick to 22.93%, while Sony regained ground at 23.96%. In the latest quarter, UMPG narrowed the gap even further: 20.45% versus Sony’s 21.12%.

In terms of songwriters, the fourth quarter belonged to Melissa Jefferson, aka Lizzo, and Eric Burton Frederic, aka Ricky Reed, collaborators on two airplay chart hits: “Truth Hurts” (which has two additional songwriters) and “Good As Hell.” On the Hot 100 list, Yuletide legend Johnny Marks -- who wrote the holiday classics “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” (a hit for Brenda Lee), “Holly Jolly Christmas” (Burl Ives) and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (Gene Autry) -- was on top, followed by Jonathan Lyndale Kirk, aka DaBaby, who had a hand in writing seven Hot 100 songs, including one of his own, “Bop.”

Kobalt hung on to the No. 3 spot on Top Radio Airplay for the sixth consecutive quarter with a 16.35% share, partly due to its stake in 41 airplay chart songs, including “Truth Hurts” and Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s “Señorita.” Kobalt was also No. 3 for a third straight quarter on the Hot 100 ranking, with 15.09% and stakes in 46 songs.

Warner Chappell rebounded by about a percentage point to 16.13% on the airplay chart, holding on to fourth place for a seventh consecutive quarter, and stayed in fourth place from the previous quarter on the Hot 100 chart. It placed 49 songs on the airplay chart and 39 on the Hot 100 tally; its top song on both was “Truth Hurts.” Rounding out the top five publishers is BMG, with a 6.09% share of the airplay chart, where it had stakes in 19 songs, and 6.34% of the Hot 100 list, with 17 songs. Its top song on both was “Someone You Loved.”

Big Machine Music placed at No. 7 on the airplay tally (1.88% share) and No. 9 on the Hot 100 chart (1.07%) on the strength of Dan + Shay’s Grammy Award-winning “10,000 Hours,” which ranked at No. 9 on the airplay chart and No. 8 on the Hot 100 list.

For publisher rankings, Reservoir placed seventh on the Hot 100 chart with a 1.46% share from 10 song placements. Reservoir has slightly more market share (1.61%) on the airplay chart but a lower ranking, at No. 8. Its top song on both lists was “Señorita.” Downtown Music Publishing came in at No. 9 on the airplay chart with 1.50% and No. 10 on the Hot 100 list with 1.03%; it had a stake in five songs on both charts, where its top title on both tallies was Jonas Brothers’ “Sucker.” Pulse Music, which sold a majority stake to Concord, came in as the No. 10 publisher on the airplay chart, with 1.29%, and the No. 8 publisher on the Hot 100 tally, with 1.21%.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 15, 2020 issue of Billboard.