Publishers Quarterly: Taylor Swift Rules With ‘Anti-Hero,’ Sony and Universal Duel for No. 1
In the fourth quarter, Swift placed 13 tracks on the Hot 100 ranking while Steve Lacy topped Radio Airplay.
For the third consecutive quarter, Sony Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing Group took their usual No. 1 spots on Billboard’s Publishers Quarterly ranking for the last quarter of 2022.
Sony topped the Top Radio Airplay ranking, while UMPG had the biggest share of Hot 100 songs.
Harry Styles and Kid Harpoon (birth name: Thomas Edward Percy Hull) were the top Radio Airplay songwriters, thanks to their collaboration on “As It Was” and two other hits from Styles’ 2022 album, Harry’s House — which Kid Harpoon also produced — that ranked in the quarter. Both songwriters are published by UMPG.
Despite that duo’s strong showing, the No. 1 Radio Airplay song for the quarter was Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit.” Five writers are credited, including Lacy as Steve Thomas Lacy Moya, Brittany Foushee, Diana “Wynter” Gordon, Matthew Castellanos, and John Carroll Kirby. The top 10 publishers that have a share in that song are: Sony, UMPG, Warner Chappell and Kobalt.
On the Hot 100 ranking, Taylor Swift, also published by UMG, was the top songwriter and scored the No. 1 song for the quarter, “Anti-Hero.” Thirteen songs from her album midnights, placed in the ranking; Swift co-wrote 12 of them and is the sole author of “Vigilante Shit.” Both Sony and UMPG have stakes in "Anti-Hero."
Sony’s No. 1 showing on the Top Radio Airplay publishers ranking actually represents its seventh consecutive quarter and 40th time overall at the top of that chart. Its market share slipped to 28.89% from 31.60% in the third quarter of 2022, but its song count was up one, with the publisher placing 64 tunes on the ranking.
On the Hot 100 publishers ranking, Sony’s market share fell more than 7 percentage points, from 29.79% in the third quarter to 22.71% in the fourth, and its song count followed suit, dropping from 64 to 58. That said, the publisher is on a bit of a hot streak when it comes to the Country Radio Airplay publisher ranking: it took the No. 1 spot for the second consecutive quarter, improving its 27.60% third-quarter market share to 28.93%.
UMPG has emerged as a powerhouse in the Hot 100 publisher rankings. For the three consecutive quarters that it finished No.1, its market share has remained above 30% — a feat last achieved by Sony on the Top Radio Airplay chart in 2014.
UMPG’s quarter-to-quarter market share grew from 30.75% to 31.63%, and its song count rose from 60 to 63. The publisher also grew its market share in the Radio Airplay ranking from 23.98% in the third quarter to 25.66% — almost 10 percentage points over No. 3 publisher, Warner Chappell Music, despite a song count that fell from 56 to 52 in the fourth quarter.
On the Radio Airplay ranking, Warner Chappell, Kobalt, and BMG once again held the No. 3 through No. 5 spots, respectively, although Warner Chappell’s quarter-to-quarter market share grew 13.60% to 15.73%. Its song count fell, however, from 48 to 46 tunes.
Kobalt held on to its No. 4 berth despite a significant drop in song placements from the third quarter, from 43 to 34, and a market-share decline from 13.21% to 10.38%. Fifth-ranked BMG eked out a .05 percentage point gain from 3.12% to 3.17%, as a result of boosting its song count from nine to 11.
The success of David Guetta & Bebe Rexha's “I'm Good (Blue),” the No. 6 song on the quarter’s top radio chart, resulted in a newcomer making the top 10: the Italian collection society S.I.A.E. Direzione Generale, which is credited as one of the song’s publishers by the Harry Fox Agency. As a result, S.I.A.E. ranked No. 7 on Radio Airplay, with a 1.38% market share, and No. 9 on the Hot 100 publisher ranking with a 1.24% share.
The remainder of the Top Radio Airplay top 10 consists of Concord at No. 6 with 2.19% share, up from the prior quarter’s 1.48% share when it ranked No. 8; at No. 8 for the fourth quarter was Higpnosis, with a 1.29% share, down from the prior quarter’s 1.77% when it ranked No. 6; Downtown held steady at No. 9 with 1.28%, down from 1.59% in the third quarter, and Big Machine at No. 10 with 1.25%.
Christmas music made its usual strong showing in the fourth quarter Hot 100 publisher ranking, vaulting St. Nicholas Music to No. 5 in the ranking with a 6.17% market share, thanks to “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” all of which were written by Johnny Marks. Brenda Lee’s recording of “Rockin’” was the quarter’s No. 6 Hot 100 song.
The holiday season also boosted Dean Kay’s Demi Music to the No. 7 slot on the Hot 100 publisher ranking, solely on the strength of Andy Williams’ “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year,” which gave Desi a 1.91% market share for the quarter. A single song — OneRepublic’s “I Ain’t Worried” — also put Downtown in the No. 8 spot.