Music in 2014: Taylor Takes the Year, Republic Records on Top, Streaming to the Rescue

Taylor Swift performs just before midnight from Times Square in New York City on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2015 on ABC.

ABC/Lou Rocco

Now let's break down the labels. Republic Records was the top label overall of 2014, capturing 8.97% of total overall album sales plus track equivalent albums (TEA). Billboard finished 2014 using that measure to rank labels -- now, with the introduction of Christian scans in Q3 2013 included in the overall U.S. market tracked by SoundScan, Nielsen Music has introduced a new marketing report entitled "Industry Market Share plus TEA," which Billboard will use going forward to rank labels. See the label market-share rankings below to see how that change impacts the rankings. In any event, when looking at the Industry Market Share report for 2014, including the scans from Christian retailers, Republic remains on top with 8.74%.

Indie labels had a banner 2014, grabbing 35.1 percent of the market. On the distribution side, Universal Music Group, home to Republic and Capitol, remains the undisputed leader, with a 38.7 percent share but flat year-over-year. Sony Music, and its labels Columbia and RCA, continues to challenge.