Tracy Chapman, Oliver Anthony Make History Breaking Into Top Publishers Rankings


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Sony Music Publishing ruled the Top Radio Airplay, Hot 100 Songs and Country Airplay publisher rankings for its third consecutive quarter of 2023, and Warner Chappell Music surged to No. 2 on the Hot 100 Songs chart ­— the first time it has held the position since the Hot 100 ranking began in 2019.

For the period spanning July through September, all of the big three publishers benefited from shares in the Afrobeats radio hit “Calm Down” by Rema and Selena Gomez. Sony also benefited from stakes in “Last Night” by Morgan Wallen, which hit No. 5 on the Top Radio Airplay chart, and Taylor Swift’s surprise hit “Cruel Summer,” which reached No. 3 on the quarter’s Hot 100 Songs ranking, four years after its initial release due to its placement as the opening song of Swift’s The Eras Tour.


Last quarter, Tracy Chapman’s Purple Rabbit Music publishing company broke into the Hot 100 and Top Radio Airplay charts (ranking No. 7 and No. 10, respectively) for the first time, thanks to Luke Combs’ cover of her 1988 song “Fast Car.” This quarter, her market share as a publisher/songwriter grew even higher. Chapman finished the quarter as the top songwriter on all three charts, propelling Purple Rabbit Music to No. 5 on Top Radio Airplay and No. 6 on both Hot 100 Songs and Country Airplay.

But she wasn’t the only self-published songwriter to make the charts this quarter. As the sole writer of “Rich Men North of Richmond,” Oliver Anthony Music’s publishing company, Christopher Anthony Lunsford Pub Designee, placed at No. 8 on Hot 100 Songs with a 1.49% market share, surpassing such top 10 perennials as Downtown and Reservoir. Like Chapman, Anthony is the sole songwriter of his breakthrough song.

This is the first time that two independent songwriters have broken into the Hot 100 Songs chart at the same time.

Warner Chappell rose to No. 2 on the Hot 100 ranking for the first time in 19 quarters. Previously, it often ranked third or fourth. “Last Night” by Morgan Wallen, “Calm Down” by Rema and Selena Gomez, and 49 other Hot 100 Songs hits accounted for its strong showing of 18.18% of the market share. The publisher held steady in third place on the Top Radio Airplay chart with 15.87% of the market share, and ranked second on the Country Airplay chart with a 26.2% share.

Universal Music Publishing Group took second place on Top Radio Airplay ­— where its song placements increased to 52 from 49 in the second quarter — and third on Hot 100 Songs. Combs’ “Love You Anyway,” No. 3 on Country Airplay; “Cruel Summer”; and “Calm Down” were UMPG’s highest-ranked songs.

Kobalt held fast to No. 4 on both Top Radio Airplay and Hot 100 Songs but slid to No. 5 on Country Airplay behind BMG. The latter publisher’s share in Jelly Roll’s “Need a Favor” helped it edge past Kobalt’s 4.59% market share with 4.93%.


BMG and Big Machine Music both climbed in the ranks on the Country Airplay charts this quarter. BMG rose from fifth to fourth ranking, thanks to its share of 12 songs on the chart this quarter, including Jelly Roll’s “Need a Favor.” BMM climbed from eighth last quarter (2.57%) to seventh this quarter (2.97%), thanks in part to Luke Bryan’s “But I Got a Beer In My Hand.”

Concord finished 10th on Top Radio Airplay with 1.37%. That percentage might rise in the fourth quarter due to its acquisitions of Round Hill Music and Mojo Music & Media in September. If Concord’s third-quarter market share was combined with those of Round Hill and Pulse, which Concord also owns but lists separately, it would have finished at No. 5 on Top Radio Airplay with 4.96% and at No. 7 on Hot 100 Songs with 3.1%.

Rounding out the top 10, Reservoir fell to No. 8 on Top Radio Airplay with 1.82%, though it improved on its No. 7-ranked second-­quarter share of 1.62%. It rounded out the Hot 100 Songs top 10 with 1.17%. Hipgnosis (1.76%) and Downtown (1.44%) finished at No. 9 on Top Radio Airplay and Hot 100 Songs, respectively.

Additional reporting by Ed Christman.

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