Publishers Quarterly: Sony Sweeps Again While ‘Fast Car’ Drives Tracy Chapman Into the Top 10

Sony Music Publishing earned the top publisher ranking on the Top Radio Airplay, Hot 100 Songs and Country Airplay charts for the first two quarters of 2023. That dominance came thanks, in part, to stakes in “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus (No. 1 on Top Radio Airplay for the second quarter), “Last Night” by Morgan Wallen (No. 1, Hot 100 Songs) and “Dancin’ in the Country” by Tyler Hubbard (No. 1, Country Airplay).

BMG-affiliated Pedro Julian Tovar Oceguera Jr. earned the top songwriter ranking on Hot 100 Songs in the second quarter for penning “Ella Baila Sola” by Eslabon Armado x Peso Pluma. Country hit-maker and SMP signee Ashley Gorley held the top songwriter spot on Top Radio Airplay.


Tracy Chapman’s publishing company, Purple Rabbit Music, made an impressive showing at No. 10 and No. 7 on the Top Radio Airplay and Hot 100 Songs rankings, respectively, thanks to Luke Combs’ cover of her 1988 hit “Fast Car.” With that song alone, Chapman held 2.32% of all publishing market share for the Hot 100 Songs chart in the second quarter.

SMP once again grew its share of the 100 Top Radio Airplay songs, to 31.46% from 30.26% in the first quarter. The number of shares it held in songs on the ranking also rose quarter to quarter, from 66 to 69. That makes nine quarters in a row that Sony has summited the Top Radio Airplay chart.

Though SMP also remained in the top slot of the Hot 100 Songs ranking, its share fell from 30.56% in the first quarter to 27.67% in the second. The songs it had on that chart also dipped, from 67 to 60.

Universal Music Publishing Group scored big with top songs “Calm Down” by Rema & Selena Gomez and “Kill Bill” by SZA. The publisher held on to its No. 2 spot on both Hot 100 Songs and Top Radio Airplay. While UMPG grew its Top Radio Airplay market share quarter to quarter from 21.26% to 22.59% and increased its song share from 48 to 49, the publisher slipped from 23.45% to 21.32% on the Hot 100 Songs ranking over the same period. Its song count also dropped from 52 to 51. For the second consecutive quarter, UMPG’s top Hot 100 song was "Kill Bill."

Warner Chappell Music held the No. 3 spot on both the Top Radio Airplay and Hot 100 Songs charts (as well as No. 2 on Country Airplay). The publisher’s Top Radio Airplay market share dropped to 17.21% from 20.71% in the first quarter, and its song count fell from 52 to 45. Its top song was Cyrus' "Flowers."

Warner Chappell's Hot 100 Songs market share also dropped, from 21.73% to 19.94%, even as its song count remained the same at 47.

Kobalt held steady at the number four spot on each of the three lists – with the help of "Last Night" by Wallen and "Creepin" by Metro Boomin. Though it is notably smaller than the three majors, Kobalt held 9.61% of market share on the Top Radio Airplay charts with shares in 36 songs -- up from 8.72% and 31 songs in the previous quarter -- and 8.80% of the Hot 100, with 31 songs -- up from 6.89% and 26 songs.

BMG finished fifth on all three rankings thanks in large part to "You" by Dan + Shay, "Ella Baila Sola" by Eslabon Armado x Peso Pluma and “Boy’s a Liar” by PinkPantheress. BMG earned 2.83% of the second-quarter Radio Airplay market with eight songs on the chart, down from 3.28% and 11 songs from the previous quarter. The publisher ended the quarter with a 4.68% Hot 100 Songs share from nine songs — most notably, the surprise hit, "Ella Baila Sola" — more than double its 2.13% first quarter market share and enough to leapfrog it over Pulse for a fifth-place finish.

Another Latin hit, Peso Pluma’s “Por Las Noches,” put Downtown back on the Hot 100 ranking. The publisher finished the second quarter with a 2.8% share from six songs.

Pulse maintained its No. 6 ranking on Radio Airplay with a 1.93% market share and a share of six songs on the chart; the biggest being Cyrus’ “Flowers.”

Reservoir re-entered the Top Radio Airplay ranking with a 1.62% share after sitting out the first quarter. The publisher’s return had a lot to do with Kane Brown’s “Thank God.” The publicly traded independent fell from No. 9 to No. 10 on the Hot 100 scorecard. It also ranked ninth on country radio airplay aided by its shares of “Snooze” by SZA and “Tennessee Orange” by Megan Moroney, respectively.


Hipgnosis rose two slots from No. 10 to No. 8 on Top Radio Airplay, although it gained only 0.15 percentage points in market share (from 1.40% in Q1 to 1.55% in Q2). This bump resulted largely from the 2020 hit “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals which is still holding strong at pop radio.

Anthem dropped from No. 8 to No. 9 on the Radio Airplay ranking despite a minuscule 0.02 percentage point drop in market share quarter-to-quarter, from 1.47% to 1.45%. Meanwhile, Vim Music made the publisher rankings for the first time thanks to placing two songs on the quarter's Hot 100 chart, with its top song, Chino Pacas' "El Gordo Trae El Mando," coming in at No. 68. That placed Vim Music --the publishing company of Mexican label Rancho Humilde co-owner Jimmy Humilde and Fuerza Regida lead singer JOP -- at No. 9 with a 1.48% share.

For the Top 10 Publishers Top Radio Airplay chart, percentage calculations were based upon the overall top 100 detecting songs from 2,968 U.S. radio stations electronically monitored by Mediabase (and provided through Luminate) 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the period of March 31 to June 29. 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 April 15 through July 8. 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.

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