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NEAR TRUTHS:
SPRING BLOOMS

SONY SHINE: The coming weeks bring an array of superstar releases, most of which are likely to figure in the chart picture throughout 2024. Beyoncé’s COWBOY CARTER album (Parkwood/Columbia), due 3/29, is the most-discussed and widely anticipated—which is saying something, considering that a fresh Taylor Swift album is also in the offing.

Bey’s last release, 2022’s RENAISSANCE, has done 2.2m in U.S. ATD. Her new set, which looks to be rootsier than anything she’s done before—and is paced by hot streaming track “TEXAS HOLD ’EM”—leads a strong Sony Music Q1 that also includes a pair of Future-Metro Boomin collabs (Freebandz/Epic in tandem with Boominati/Republic), the first of which is heading for a 235k #1 debut (the year's best so far) and looks like an utter monster, and a new set from a resurgent Shakira (Sony Latin). (Future’s last album, I Never Liked You, has racked up 1.8b global streams on the Spot and 2.4m in U.S. ATD.) These drops, alongside big streamers like TDE/RCA’s SZA (approaching 11m worldwide ATD), Cactus Jack/Epic’s Travis Scott (2.2m+ ATD U.S.), Slaughter Gang/Epic’s 21 Savage and Alamo’s Bossman Dlow, should fuel a lively marketplace showing by Sony. Todd Moscowitz’s Alamo is definitely kicking things up a notch with the Bossman hit and his new OVO deal. Lonny Olinick's AWAL has an absolute giant with Djo, whose viral single just won't quit. SME’s Latin division, too, is on fire. Most recently, "Too Sweet," a compelling new entry from Columbia's Irish troubadour Hozier, flew to #2 U.S. and Top 10 global at Spotify. Sony has four tracks in the top 5, six in the top 10 and 11 in the top 20 on the Spot's USA chart—from seven different acts.

RCA's Peter Edge, John Fleckenstein and A&R exec Dan Chertoff, meanwhile, are celebrating the inking of hot band Red Clay Strays. The company has a strong relationship with Dave Macias and crew at indie Thirty Tigers, which put out the Strays' prior music. Chertoff previously inked Tyler Childers and Colter Wall.

Beyoncé’s recent comments about the history of country music, incidentally, highlight the vexed racial politics underlying typical preconceptions about genre. It’s about time the biz fully acknowledged that virtually all popular music has Black roots.

RABBIT TEST: Warner Records, as you may have noticed, is hot. Thanks to blazing chart performances by Zach Bryan, Teddy Swims and Benson Boone, and with no fewer than five cuts in the Top 10 of the Hot 100, the label that has been quiet, to put it mildly, since the late 20th century has come roaring back; the success of the Aaron Bay-Schuck and Tom Corson tandem also speaks to Max Lousada’s wisdom in empowering the pair and remaining patient as they built a roster of substance and staying power. The label has now surpassed intramural rival Atlantic for the first time since Bay-Schuck was in short pants. Will a new Dua Lipa set (due 5/3) and a promising start from newcomer Michael Marcagi further boost the Bunny? We also note the recent inking of viral upstart and eagerly pursued free agent Dasha, another rootsy coup for the team as the coastal majors continue to feast on hot new country acts.

Marcagi photo: Adam Budd


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