There’s a point in the process of ranking the Power 100 list, usually after the third meeting -- sometime in late September -- when an editor complains that his or her candidates are not being held in the proper regard and all the candy and caffeine in the world (and in my office) can’t save the mood. But it is also how it should be.
The best I can say about the Power 100 is that it is a true collaborative effort, and that we approach every year as a clean(ish) slate. In 2015, there were 31 new executives on the list; this year, 39 more have entered the Billboard Power 100.
The turnover is not just because earthquake-level events like Adele’s record catapult associated parties onto and up the list, but also because sometimes, all of a sudden, everything clicks for a company or executive. The music industry is in the process of recalibration and reorganization, and it stands to reason our list would be too.
The top three are so closely bunched, each deserved a cover of his own. As far as ranking them, Universal’s Lucian Grainge had seven of the top 10 best-selling releases of the year, he owns nearly 40 percent market share, and all five best album Grammy nominees are his acts. Live Nation’s Michael Rapino has an even greater share of the touring market and writes the biggest checks to artists. And Jimmy Iovine and the Cupertino, Calif., gang pushed through a fraught Apple Music launch, partnered with superstars from Drake to Elton John on Beats 1 radio and continue to dominate retail. They are wildly different personalities, but their love of music and their protection of artists is in lockstep. In a top 10 filled with true industry heavyweights, they are still a class unto themselves.
After careful consideration, Grainge finishes first for a second straight year because, in my eyes, his power is fueled by the creation of the material that powers the industry. Music can live without streaming, and music can even live without touring, but music cannot live without music.
-- Tony Gervino, Editor-In-Chief, Billboard
Edited by Frank DiGiacomo
Contributors: Jem Aswad, Steve Baltin, William Chipps, Ed Christman, Leila Cobo, Michael Corcoran, Adrienne Gaffney, Andy Gensler, Shirley Halperin, Jenn Haltman, Steven J. Horowitz, Matt Medved, Gail Mitchell, Melinda Newman, Glenn Peoples, Dan Rys, Richard Smirke, Eric Spitznagel, Phyllis Stark, Ray Waddell, Chris Willman
Illustrations by John Jay Cabuay
A committee of Billboard editors and reporters weighed a variety of factors in determining the Power 100 rankings, including but not limited to impact on consumer behavior, as measured by metrics such as chart performance, social media impressions and radio and TV audiences reached; company growth; career trajectory; reputation among peers; and overall impact in the industry. Where appropriate, Billboard also considered record-label market share using Nielsen Music U.S. total album plus track equivalent album (TEA) sales, and U.S. current album plus TEA market share, which was calculated using Nielsen Music data. Unless otherwise noted, Billboard Boxscore and Nielsen Music are the sources for tour grosses and sales and streaming data.