2022 is shaping up to be a close battle between the top UK record labels.
Based on exclusive Official Charts Company data, Music Week can reveal who came out on top for the first quarter of the year.
EMI is out in front for Q1 based on the crucial All Music All Albums metric. The Universal Music label group, now headed up by co-presidents Rebecca Allen and Jo Charrington (pictured), has a 9.9% share with 3,519,169 chart units in the first quarter.
Successful EMI artists in 2022 include Elton John, whose Cold Heart collaboration with Dua Lipa is streaming strongly, alongside continuing consumption of Queen, Lewis Capaldi and Taylor Swift.
The market leader also has a big hit with Baby by Aitch & Ashanti. The single is released on Capitol, which recently became part of EMI - a move which boosts the label group’s market position.
EMI is also No.1 based on All Album Sales, thanks in part to its share in the Now brand compilations releases. Sony Music CG, the other Now major label partner, is at No.2 (as well as No.1 in compilation sales).
RCA, who finished ahead of EMI overall in 2021, are in second place on All Music All Albums for the first quarter with a 9.7% market share (3,464,024 units). The label group has had success so far in 2022 with Little Mix’s Between Us collection, as well as streaming stars the Kid Laroi and Lil Nas X.
In partnership with its Since ’93 label, RCA has secured a breakthrough in the singles chart Top 10 with Go by UK singer-songwriter Cat Burns. Go is at No.37 overall for Q1 with chart sales of 162,633.
While RCA is in second place overall, it’s putting up quite a fight. The Sony Music label is narrowly ahead based on the OCC’s All Music Artist Albums metric (9.9% share compared to EMI’s 9.8%). RCA is also on top for Track Streams with a 10.7% market share (3.6 billion streams). EMI is on 10% for Track Streams.
RCA has global ambitions for its breakthrough acts, including Mimi Webb and Tems. Mimi Webb made No.58 overall in Q1 with her latest hit House On Fire (134,491).
Speaking to Music Week earlier this year, RCA president David Dollimore said: “We’re in a position where artists are loving the journey they’re on being signed to RCA and Since ’93. It’s going to be a very big year for us, we want to be breaking global acts, not just [breaking acts in the] UK.”
RCA is also No.1 on Track Sales, although that is a rapidly shrinking market with most consumers having migrated to streaming platforms.
Polydor is also a strong contender in 2022. The Music Week Awards Record Company winner in 2021 is actually No.1 in the OCC’s measure of Artist Album Sales with a 7.6% share (310,532 pure sales). The Universal Music UK label is up 6% year-on-year compared to market growth of 1%.
EMI was No.2 on Artist Album Sales followed by Rhino at No.3. The Warner Music catalogue division has had an impressive quarter, including David Bowie’s Toy box set and the perennial Fleetwood Mac LP Rumours.
Successful 2022 campaigns for Polydor include Years & Years, Frank Turner and the deluxe edition of Becky Hill’s album, alongside the continuing impact for 2021 releases by Olivia Rodrigo, Sam Fender and ABBA.
For the overall All Music All Albums metric, Polydor is at No.3 with a 9.2% market share.
The UK’s Top 40 songs of the year so far amassed 1.3 billion streams in the first quarter of the year alone. We Don’t Talk About Bruno from Disney’s animated film Encanto was the biggest single in Q1, while Ed’s Sheeran’s = (Atlantic) was at No.1 for the biggest artist albums of the year.
Subscribers can click here to read our recent interview with RCA president David Dollimore and EVP Stacey Tang.