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How Kobalt Music Heated Up The Hot 100 This Year

Kobalt credits its global strategy with helping it attract some of the industry's biggest hitmakers. And with 12 Hot 100 No. 1s in 2020, the hits keep coming.

At the end of 2019, Kobalt Music Group’s publishing division claimed a 15.09% share of the songs on the Billboard Hot 100, a percentage only bested by giants like Universal Music Publishing Group and Sony/ ATV. That share rose even higher in Billboard’s Publishers Quarterly reports throughout 2020, with the independent company peaking at 17.94% and maintaining a top four ranking for the year so far.


Kobalt — which ASCAP named publisher of the year in June — credits its global “one team, one roster” strategy with helping it attract hit-makers like The Weeknd, Max Martin, Roddy Ricch and FINNEAS, Billie Eilish’s brother and collaborator; the lattermost brought home six of the 20 wins for Kobalt songwriters at the 62nd Grammy Awards in January. With its publishing roster scoring 12 Hot 100 No. 1s in 2020 (listed below with total year-to-date streams, with the top five earning over 500 million each), for Kobalt, the hits keep on coming.

“The Box” — Roddy Ricch

1.2 billion streams

Roddy Ricch released his debut album, Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial, in December 2019. By January, he was in a showdown with Justin Bieber as “Yummy” and “The Box,” written by Ricch and producer Samuel “30 Roc” Gloade, competed for the Hot 100’s top spot. While Bieber urged fans to stream his own song, Ricch tweeted “stream yummy by justin bieber” on Jan. 11. In the end, “The Box” claimed the top spot for 11 weeks.

“Rockstar” — DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch

785.8 million streams

After hitting No. 1 with “The Box” — and winning his first Grammy Award for best rap performance as a featured artist on Nipsey Hussle’s “Racks in the Middle” — Roddy Ricch jumped on DaBaby’s “Rockstar.” The song, produced by SethInTheKitchen, went to No. 1 on the Hot 100 in June, where it remained for seven nonconsecutive weeks. The track also crowned Billboard’s Songs of the Summer chart, following its Black Lives Matter remix that arrived in June.

“Blinding Lights” — The Weeknd

740.8 million streams

The After Hours singles “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights” both topped the Hot 100, with the latter becoming the fifth No. 1 for The Weeknd — and the first time an artist simultaneously held the top spot on the Hot 100, Billboard 200, Artist 100, Hot 100 Songwriters and Hot 100 Producers charts. The hit was also a win for fellow Kobalt songwriter Martin, who celebrated his 23rd Hot 100 chart-topper as a writer and his 21st as a producer.

“Savage” — Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé

568.7 million streams

Following an initial chart bump thanks to TikTok user Keara Wilson creating the viral #SavageChallenge dance, Beyoncé sent the Megan Thee Stallion song to No. 1 on the Hot 100 when she hopped on its remix in late April. The all-star team behind the scenes included Anthony J. White, aka J. White Did It, and Derrick Gray, aka Derrick Milano, who also contributed to Megan Thee Stallion’s “Hot Girl Summer.” The artist tweeted in May: “I still can’t believe that Beyoncé rapped my lyrics … lol it just hit me.”

“Say So” — Doja Cat

528.8 million streams

The fifth single from 2019’s Hot Pink gained traction due to a viral TikTok dance by Haley Sharpe (who later appeared in its disco-era music video), earning Doja Cat her first Hot 100 top 10. After Nicki Minaj jumped on the remix, it became the first No. 1 by two women since Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” (featuring Charli XCX) in 2014. It was also the first chart-topper for Lukasz Gottwald, aka Dr. Luke, since Kesha had made sexual assault and abuse allegations against him that same year.

“Savage Love (Laxed — Siren Beat)” — Jawsh 685 x Jason Derulo

305.3 million streams

“THE SCOTTS” — THE SCOTTS, Travis Scott and Kid Cudi

285.6 million streams

“Mood” — 24kGoldn featuring iann dior

284 million streams

“Rain On Me” — Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande

229.5 million streams

“TROLLZ” — 6ix9ine and Nicki Minaj 

133.2 million streams

“Franchise” — Travis Scott featuring Young Thug and M.I.A.

69.4 million streams

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” — Mariah Carey

54.5 million streams

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 19, 2020, issue of Billboard.