Publishers Quarterly: Miley Cyrus and The Weeknd Split Song Honors as Sony Shakes UMPG for a Sweep
SZA is top songwriter for the quarter, co-writing eight songs on the Hot 100 ranking and four on Top Radio Airplay.
After sharing No. 1 with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) for three consecutive quarters, Sony Music Publishing swept Billboard’s Publishers Quarterly report for the first 90 days of 2023 — including the country music category. The Weeknd’s “Die for You” and Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” were the No. 1 songs on the Top Radio Airplay and Hot 100 publishers rankings, respectively, while SZA took top songwriter honors.
Sony’s 30.26% market share of the 100 Top Radio Airplay songs rose from 28.89% in the fourth quarter of 2022 and marked its eighth consecutive quarter in the No. 1 spot. The number of shares it held in songs on the ranking was also up quarter to quarter, from 64 to 66.
The publisher also finished at No. 1 on the Hot 100 publishers ranking, putting an end to UMPG’s remarkable three-consecutive-quarter streak at No. 1 with over 30% of the market — the first since that ranking was instituted in 2019. Sony returned to first place with a 30.56% share amassed from stakes in 67 songs, a huge gain over its No. 2 showing in the previous quarter, when it posted a 22.71% market share tied to shares in 58 tunes.
Sony also notched its third consecutive quarter as the No. 1 publisher on the Country Airplay list.
UMPG finished No. 2 on the Hot 100 ranking after its market share dropped from 31.63% to 23.45% quarter to quarter and its song count declined from 63 to 52. Compared with the previous year, however, UMPG’s first-quarter performance was up more than three percentage points.
Although the publisher remained firmly in second place on the Top Radio Airplay ranking, its market share fell from 25.66% in the fourth quarter of 2022 to 21.26% in the first quarter. Its share of songs also declined, from 52 to 48.
Warner Chappell Music finished third on both rankings and showed improved performance on each. The publisher scored a 20.71% market share on Top Radio Airplay — up almost five percentage points from the previous quarter’s 15.73% — and 21.73% on the Hot 100 ranking, up from 18.59% in the fourth quarter of 2022. Those gains came from shares in 52 and 47 songs, respectively.
The top songwriter across the board was Solána “SZA” Imani Rowe, who is published by UMPG. She co-wrote eight songs on the Hot 100 ranking and four on Top Radio Airplay. Her top song on both lists was “Kill Bill,” which is No. 2 on the Hot 100 ranking and No. 6 on Top Radio Airplay.
Kobalt held onto its No. 4 spot from the last quarter in both the Top Radio Airplay and Hot 100 rankings.
Despite holding steady, its market share fell from 10.38% in the fourth quarter to 8.72% in the first quarter’s Top Radio Airplay chart, although its share of songs almost doubled, including its top song, “Die For You.” On the Hot 100, Kobalt’s market share improved slightly by 9 basis points to 6.89% from the prior measurement period’s 6.8% and its song count grew to 26, including “Die For You,” from the fourth quarter’s 22 songs.
BMG’s No. 5 placement was due to a slight increase in its Radio Airplay market share, from 3.17% to 3.28% with shares in 11 songs — the same total from the previous quarter. On the flip side, BMG remained in sixth place for the second consecutive quarter on the Hot 100 ranking, even though its market share dropped from 2.38% to 2.13%. It also claimed shares of 8 songs in both quarters, while its top song on both charts for the first quarter was David Guetta and Bebe Rexha’s “I’m Good (Blue),”which was No. 4 on the Top Radio Airplay chart and No. 8 on the Hot 100 chart.
Pulse Music Group returned to the Radio Airplay rankings at No. 6 — after sitting out the fourth quarter. It posted a 1.69% market share from stakes in five songs, including its top track, “Flowers.” Prior to the fourth quarter, Pulse had placed in the Top Radio Airplay rankings for 12 consecutive quarters, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2019. On the Hot 100 publisher rankings, Pulse jumped five spots to No. 10 to No. 5 with a 2.28% share, more than doubling its No. 10 fourth quarter showing, 1.11%. Pulse’s song count doubled, too, from 3 songs in the prior quarter to 6 tunes in the first quarter.
S.I.A.E. Direzione’s Generale repeated its fourth quarter performance, finishing No. 7 on both charts with a 1.65% share, up from the prior quarter’s 1.38% on the Top Radio Airplay chart, and 1.35%, up from the previous quarter’s 1.24% share of the Hot 100 chart, when it was ranked No. 9. Its top song for both charts was also “I’m Good (Blue).”
Rounding out the Top 10 for the Top Radio Airplay rankings, Anthem, absent from the ranking since the second quarter of 2022, returned at No. 8 with a 1.47% share. Concord fell to No. 9 with a 1.41% share, down from the prior quarter’s No. 6 ranking and 2.19% share. And Hipgnosis Songs Group fell to No. 10 from its No.8 fourth-quarter finish, even though its market share improved to 1.40% from the prior period’s 1.29%.
On the Hot 100 ranking, Concord, Reservoir and Anthem all returned to the Top 10 ranking after not making the cut in the fourth quarter. Concord was only absent one quarter; the last time Reservoir made the ranking was the third quarter of 2021, and Anthem’s last time in the top 10 was the first quarter of 2022.
*For the Top 10 Publishers Top Radio Airplay chart, percentage calculations were based upon the overall top 100 detecting songs from 2,941 U.S. radio stations electronically monitored by Mediabase (and provided through Luminate) 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the period of Dec. 30, 2022, to March 30, 2023. For the Top 10 Publishers Hot 100 Songs, percentage calculations were based upon the top 100 songs as ranked by Billboard Hot 100 points calculated from Luminate-compiled digital sales and streaming data and Mediabase-tracked radio airplay detections during the same period as above, reflecting the issue dates of Jan. 14, 2023, through April. 8, 2023. Publisher information for musical works on both charts has been identified by the Harry Fox Agency. A “publisher” is defined as an administrator, copyright owner and/or controlling party.