This is an expanded version of an article first published in the May 17th issue of Billboard Magazine.
The first-quarter rankings for music-publishing royalties are in, and the most notable winners are Sony/ATV and SONGS. Although the former’s No. 1 finish is hardly surprising — Sony/ATV has held the top spot for seven successive quarters since taking over administration of EMI Music Publishing in 2012 — the company’s 31.9 percent market share, almost double that of No. 2-ranking Universal Music Publishing Group, should have Sony/ATV Chairman and CEO Martin Bandier handing out primo cigars to his executives.
SONGS CEO (and former Judge bassist) Matt Pincus also should be celebrating. The company, which was the breakout success story of fourth-quarter 2013, continued its surge by nearly doubling its fourth-quarter market share. This is the second consecutive quarter that SONGS, which serves as publisher for Lorde, has landed in the top 10 and its third time overall. The company made its debut at No. 9 in first-quarter 2013 with a 1.6 percent share.
Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner/Chappell Music traded places in the number two and three spots this quarter. And, at the other end of the Top 10, Words and Music Copyright Administration scored the No. 9 berth with a 1.1-percent share after not making the cut in the fourth quarter. Downtown Music Publishing also landed the No. 10 spot after three consecutive quarters as a no-show. (Please see chart for a more in-depth look at the rankings and the songs that drove them. In instances where a song — such as Lorde’s “Team” — has more than one writer, and the writers are represented by different publishers, the song will be credited to more than one publisher.)
The song that earned the most royalties in the quarter was Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J).” Billboard estimates the song produced $883,000 from U.S. Radio performance and mechanical royalties. Ryan Tedder was the top writer for the second quarter in a row. Billboard estimates that his credits for five songs — “Counting Stars,” by his band OneRepublic, Ellie Goulding’s “Burn”, Demi Lovato’s “Neon Lights, Maroon 5’s “Love Somebody”, and the Fray’s “Love Don’t Die” — generated $881,000 revenue in mechanical royalties from U.S. album sales and track downloads, and performance royalties from U.S. radio airplay in the first quarter. Billboard estimates he earned $582,000 that in the previous quarter from the three Top 100 radio songs he had a hand in writing.
Publisher rankings are determined using a number of sources. Radio airplay for Top 100 songs was calculated from a sample of 1,554 U.S. stations that were monitored electronically by Nielsen BDS for the period of Jan. 1 through March 31, 2014. Airplay for country songs was tabulated from a sample of 212 country stations monitored by Nielsen BDS. The Harry Fox Agency calculates each publisher’s market share by researching the publishers’ split for each track.
Infographic by Tim Vienckowski