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Billboard Magazine

Billboard Magazine September 14, 2019

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Written for music industry professionals and fans. Contents provide news, reviews and statistics for all genres of music, including radio play, music video, related internet activity and retail updates.

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United States
MRC Media, LLC
29 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
post malone ‘circles’ back to the top 10

SOARING ONTO THE Billboard Hot 100 at No. 7, “Circles” is Post Malone’s fifth top 10 of 2019 — the most of any artist this year. The song (released Aug. 30; its official video arrived Sept. 3) begins at No. 2 on the Digital Song Sales chart with 29,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen Music, and No. 5 on Streaming Songs (30.8 million U.S. streams), while nearing Radio Songs (17.9 million in airplay audience). Post Malone earns his eighth total Hot 100 top 10 and his fifth this year, after “Better Now” (which peaked at No. 3 on Oct. 6, 2018); “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse),” with Swae Lee (No. 1, Jan. 19); “Wow.” (No. 2, April 6); and “Goodbyes” (featuring Young Thug; No. 3, July 20). The singer-rapper passes Ariana Grande…

5 min.
the lonely indie road

EARLIER IN SEPTEMBER, longtime independent promoter John Reese filed for bankruptcy on behalf of his company Synergy Global Entertainment (SGE), after what the bankruptcy documents call a “perfect storm of adverse market conditions and a massive drop in ticket sales” led to several event cancellations, including the Mad Decent Block Party scheduled for July at Gillette Stadium near Boston and several dates on the Rockstar Disrupt Tour. $5.2B Combined ticket sales of Live Nation and AEG reported to Billboard Boxscore in 2018. The documents show that Reese ended 2019 with nearly $8.4 million in debt, and over 100 unpaid creditors, including staging companies, concessionaires, ticket companies and talent agencies. Sources close to Reese say he fell into a trap now common among even established indie promoters: overpaying for talent and hoping to make…

4 min.
podcast exploder?

A few years ago, when Ice-T was making his Final Level podcast for the independent company Loud Speakers Network, he decided to open it with his 1986 track “6 ’N the Mornin’.” “It’s my song, don’t worry about it,” Chris Morrow, the network’s co-founder and CEO, remembers the rapper telling him. But Morrow did worry: Warner Music owned the master recording, so Final Level couldn’t use it. “It’s not worth the risk,” says Morrow. “Five or 10 episodes from now, they [could] pull it down and wreck your momentum.” In the past few years, podcasting has grown from a cottage industry into big business, with 93 million listeners and $479 million in yearly advertising revenue in the United States, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Producers have become more sophisticated about licensing music — and…

2 min.
there’s still money in plastics

SALES OF CDS ARE already down by 21% this year, according to Nielsen Music, but retailers say that some labels are beginning to change their attitude toward the format as they realize there is still money to be made from physical products. In its first two weeks of release, Taylor Swift’s Lover sold almost 440,000 copies on CD, according to Nielsen. Even more surprising was the success of Tool’s Fear Inoculum, released Aug. 30 with elaborate packaging for a hefty $44.98 ($31.50 wholesale price). Fans snapped up 51,000 physical copies its first week in stores, and some retailers quickly realized there was enough demand to raise prices to $59, and then $65. Retailer websites suggest that all of the more than 100,000 physical copies of the Tool album initially shipped by RCA/Sony…

2 min.
does listening time matter?

Here’s a brainteaser: People love music as much as ever, and more of them are paying for subscriptions — at the midpoint of 2019, U.S. streaming revenue was up 26% year over year. Consumers have never had so many options for listening, from free streams to pricey vinyl box sets. And yet, the average time American consumers say they spend listening to music each week has dropped from 32.1 hours in 2017 to 26.9 hours in 2019, according to Nielsen Music’s Music 360 report. One explanation is that people are becoming choosier in how much time they spend with various forms of media. Teens especially are engaging with music in “a short, focused manner,” says Mark Mulligan, managing director of media analysis firm MIDiA Research, whose studies have also noted a…

6 min.
larry mestel

FOR LARRY MESTEL, FOUNDER and CEO of Primary Wave Music, the company’s latest acquisition resonates deeply. The New York-based company purchased the publisher’s share of the eight songs on Boston’s self-titled debut, which has sold over 25 million copies since its 1976 release, fueled by such classic rock staples as “More Than a Feeling,” “Long Time” and “Peace of Mind.” “It’s a special catalog because Boston was one of my favorite artists growing up and I think Tom Scholz is a genius,” says Mestel. It’s the latest in a string of publishing catalogs that Primary Wave has purchased since Mestel, a former executive at Virgin, Arista and Island Entertainment Group, founded the company in 2006. Primary Wave’s 15,000-song catalog includes copyrights from Smokey Robinson, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Hall & Oates, Boy…