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NEAR TRUTHS:
RECORD-BREAKING

IT'S SHOWTIME: With Sir Lucian Grainge’s UMG now enjoying a market cap of nearly $40b, double-digit Q1 growth across all segments and revenues up more than 20% year-over-year, the Big 3 continue to make the elite class of artists extremely rich, with deals in the hundreds of millions for those catalogs that are having huge streaming success now and are locked in for the projectable future—making these massive deals relatively risk-free. Top executive talent is raking in record-breaking money as well, as the rich get richer. New and old businesses are trying to use music to increase the sex appeal of their brands and spark deeper engagement, paying ever-escalating licensing fees. The financial community and its bankers are chasing the new golden goose, adding fuel to the fire as the global business continually breaks records for new revenue growth.

STAR SHOWER: We’re now poised for further peaks as a flurry of superstar releases begins to meet the voracious streaming appetite. Last week, Sylvia Rhone’s Epic launched Future’s new project, scoring an artist-best #1 bow of 227k+ and dominating the DSPs. Rimas phenom Bad Bunny, one of the world’s biggest touring acts (he’s selling out stadiums everywhere) and king of the huge Latin streaming market, gives Sony a sizable 1-2 punch in the global ecosystem. Bunny, whose worldwide streams are already in excess of 3b on Spotify, is off to an extraordinarily strong start on the DSPs—having scored the biggest first day ever on Spotify, with north of 183m streams—and is expected to bow in the neighborhood of 250k. The U.S. market, mind you, represents less than 30% of his global activity. Also premiering is Range-repped Jack Harlow, whose cut “First Class” has been a rocket and who will likely see a debut in the vicinity of 125k.

 Then comes the long-awaited new set (possibly a double album) from Interscope’s Kendrick Lamar, with first-week projections of 350-400k coming off 11m from his prior outing, which dropped in 2017. K-Dot’s been playing a handful of festivals, including Glastonbury and Rolling Loud—his last real tour, spanning North America, Europe, Japan and Australia, was in 2018—and word has it his brand is stronger than ever. One of the premier poets of the culture has only become more important as he and partner Dave Free’s newco pgLang begin to pilot a new course.

The following week brings the new album from Columbia superstar Harry Styles, expected to bow with 400-450k as the set’s first single, “As It Was,” racks up mind-bogglingly huge streams. The Jeffrey Azoff-managed Styles scored 10m in global sales on his last set. Combined with his insane ticket sales, it’s easy to see why some bizniks call him the biggest act in the world.

COMING SOON: Post Malone (via the newly minted Mercury), Geffen’s first release from BTS and a big new album from River House/Columbia Nashville’s Luke Combs—one of country’s top-streaming artists—will also invade the marketplace in the ensuing weeks. Def Jam/Universal’s Justin Bieber and Interscope’s Lady Gaga (with Tom Cruise as value added) are tearing it up at the turnstiles in arenas and stadiums while launching new projects that already show signs of massive impact. What other giants are on the way, now that this onslaught has begun?

MERCURY ORBITS AJR
The Met brothers have a new label home. (5/17a)
NEW RELEASES: KING
KENDRICK RETURNS
Another record-breaking debut week. (5/17a)
PRIDE & JOY
From the archives (5/17a)
NEW & DEVELOPING ARTISTS: Q2 EDITION
Place your bets here. (5/17a)
STREAMING SONGS: SUMMER HEAT
His lucky number is 23. (5/16a)
SUPERSTAR RELEASES
Who's next?
MUSIC BIZ SPECIAL
It's Comic-Con for numbers geeks.
THE BIG CHEESE
Theories of evolution from 30,000 feet.
THE NEXT GIANT DEAL
A&R in overdrive.
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