Indie labels frozen out on radio in Europe as majors dominate Top 50

The biggest Top 50 tracks on radio stations across Europe in the first three months of this year didn’t contain a single independent release, according to MBW analysis.

We’ve crunched the numbers of Radiomonitor’s data for the opening quarter of 2015, and found that Universal was – unsurprisingly – the dominant force, with 43% of the EU’s Top 50 most-heard tracks on radio, and 47% of its Top 100.

These include the second biggest song on radio in Europe in Q1, Take Me To Church by Hozier (pictured), which was listened to in the EU a staggering 7.36bn times over the airways between December 28, 2014 and April 5, 2015 – and played over 212,000 times across 1,357 stations.

That wasn’t enough to oust Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud from Europe’s No.1 airplay spot, according to Radiomonitor data. The Atlantic-signed UK star’s song was heard 7.99bn times in the EU in the period, thanks to 245,752 plays on 1,357 stations.

The biggest fully independent track on EU radio was Milky Chance’s Stolen Dance at No. 57 with 1.85bn impressions from 935 stations. The track is getting on a bit, having received its first radio play in Europe 73 weeks ago.

The only other fully independent track in the EU’s Top 100 was Fritz Kalkbrenner (Rough Trade) with Back Home at No. 68. The track, released in late 2014, was heard 1.5bn times in Europe in Q1 via airplay, thanks to 24,468 plays on 254 stations.

Independent group 3Beat had two tracks in the Top 100 – Nobody To Love by Sigma (No.43) and Wish You Were Mine by Philip George (No.65) – but these were released (and plugged) via Universal.

See below for MBW’s analysis of Europe, the UK, Germany and Australia’s Q1 airplay output.

[Please note: Radiomonitor’s territory charts are generally listed in order of ‘impacts’ rather than plays. Impacts are the number of unique ‘listens’ a song receives on the radio in a given time period. Across Europe – with a population of 725m – they add up fast over three months.]

Europe’s Top 10 biggest tracks of Q1 2015 (Radiomonitor: Dec 28 – April 5):
  1. Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud – Atlantic (7.99bn impressions; 245,752 plays; 1,346 stations)
  2. Hozier, Take Me To Church – Island (7.36bn impressions; 212,358 plays; 1,357 stations)
  3. Mark Ronson, Uptown Funk! – Columbia (6,98bn impressions; 296,853 plays; 1,459 stations)
  4. David Guetta, Dangerous – Parlophone (6.56bn impressions; 193,491 plays; 1,160 stations)
  5. Ellie Goulding, Love Me Like You Do – Polydor (6.26bn impressions; 209,218 plays; 1,297 stations)
  6. Taylor Swift, Blank Space – Virgin EMI (5.9bn impressions; 191,978 plays; 1,088 stations)
  7. Meghan Trainor, Lips Are Movin – Epic (5.57bn impressions; 148,177 plays; 1,026 stations)
  8. Robin Schultz, Sun Goes Down – Warner (4.87bn impressions; 108,649 plays; 686 stations)
  9. Calvin Harris, Outside – Columbia (4.84bn impressions; 156,538 plays; 993 stations)
  10. Echosmith, Cool Kids – Warner (4.82bn impressions; 125,094 plays; 1,160 stations)

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THE UK

Universal took a 42% share of the Top 50 radio tracks in the UK in the first quarter, according to Radiomonitor data. But it couldn’t claim the most-heard song: that was Mark Ronson feat Bruno Mars with Uptown Funk!, which boasted 1.13bn impressions in the market from December 28, 2014 to April 4, 2015.

Ministry Of Sound was the sole independent representative in the Top 50: its Gravity by DJ Fresh feat. Ella Eyre was the 44th most-heard track in the period, despite only reaching radio seven weeks ago.

In the Top 100, it was joined by fellow independent releases The Ballad Of The Mighty I by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (No. 58 with 172.9m impressions and 5,245 plays; on Sour Mash, although released through Warner’s ADA), Promesses by Tchami (No.71 with 135m impressions and 8,670 plays – Ministry Of Sound); and Outlines by Mike Mago & Dragonette (No.87 with 106.5m impressions and 8,400 plays).

Sony took a 38% share of the Top 50 tracks, and a 35% share of the Top 100.

UK’s Top 10 biggest tracks of Q1 2015 (Radiomonitor: Dec 28 – April 4):
  1.  Mark Ronson, Uptown Funk! – Columbia (1.13bn impressions; 93,064 plays; 305 stations)
  2. Ellie Goulding, Love Me Like You Do – Polydor (833.2m impressions; 71,334 plays; 276 stations)
  3. Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud – Atlantic (699.6m impressions; 73,036 plays; 296 stations)
  4. Olly Murs, Up – RCA (640.3m impressions; 65,629 plays; 254 stations)
  5. James Bay, Hold Back The River – Virgin/EMI (549.7m impressions; 46,237 plays; 291 stations)
  6. Taylor Swift, Blank Space – Virgin/EMI (537.8m impressions; 51,200 plays; 223 stations)
  7. Sam Smith, Like I Can – Capitol (498.6m impressions; 49,840 plays; 261 stations)
  8. Taylor Swift, Shake It Off – Virgin EMI (494.9m impressions; 41,890 plays; 262 stations)
  9. Olly Murs, Wrapped Up – RCA (466.7m impressions; 42,210 plays; 246 stations)
  10. Meghan Trainor, Lips Are Movin – Epic (444.7m impressions; 36,883 plays; 211 stations)

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GERMANY

Sony’s Columbia pulled off a major double-coup in Europe in Q1, with not only the top airplay track in the UK but Germany too – with George Ezra’s Blame It On Me.

The standout statistic from the country, though, is Universal’s 51% share of the Top 100 market; meaning that of all the times these tracks were heard in Germany in Q1, more than half came from a UMG artist.

Milky Chance’s Stolen Dance (No.46) and Fritz Kalkbrenner’s Back Home (No.69) were the only independent releases in the Top 100.

Germany’s TOP 10 BIGGEST TRACKS OF Q1 2015 (RADIOMONITOR: DEC 28 – APRIL 2):
  1. George Ezra, Blame It On Me – Columbia/SMI (2.4bn impressions; 26,076 plays; 130 stations)
  2. Robin Schultz, Sun Goes Down – Warner Music (2.05bn impressions; 27,875 plays; 128 stations)
  3. Kwabs, Walk – Warner Int (2.01bn impressions; 32,188 plays; 131 stations)
  4. Tove Lo, Stay High (Habits) – Universal (1.88bn impressions; 25,444 plays; 127 stations)
  5. David Guetta, Dangerous – Parlophone (1.85bn impressions; 26,330 plays; 119 stations)
  6. The Avener, Fade Out Lines – Capitol (1.81bn impressions; 24,971 plays; 138 stations)
  7. Andreas Bourani, Auf Anderen Wegen – Polydor (1.73bn impressions; 16,983 plays; 117 stations)
  8. Echosmith, Cool Kids – Warner Int (1.68bn impressions; 24,431 plays; 139 stations)
  9. Meghan Trainor, Lips Are Movin – Epic/SMI (1.66bn impressions; 24,833 plays; 123 stations)
  10. Nickelback, What Are You Waiting For – Universal Int (1.63bn impressions; 15,943 plays; 99 stations)

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AUSTRALIA

There was better news for the independents in Australia, where they enjoyed five tracks in the country’s Top 100 airplay songs, according to Radiomonitor data.

They couldn’t claim a Top 10 spot, however – with Hozier’s Take Me To Church on Island just pipping Omi’s Cheerleader on Ultra/Sony to the No.1 spot.

Due to confusion caused by local licensing laws, Radiomonitor’s data for Australia is listed in terms of plays, rather than impacts.

Australia’s TOP 10 BIGGEST TRACKS OF Q1 2015 (RADIOMONITOR: DEC 28 – APRIL 1):
  1. Hozier, Take Me To Church – Island (10,489 plays; 50 stations)
  2. Omi, Cheerleader – Ultra/Sony – (10,481 plays; 28 stations)
  3. Mark Ronson, Uptown Funk! – Columbia (10,408 plays; 50 stations)
  4. Taylor Swift, Blank Space – Virgin EMI (7,964 plays; 31 stations)
  5. Taylor Swift, Style – Virgin EMI (7,849 plays; 27 stations)
  6. Sia, Elastic Heart – Sony (7,341 plays; 39 stations)
  7. James Bay, Hold Back The River – Virgin EMI (7,127 plays; 39 stations)
  8. Peking Duck, Take Me Over – Others/Universal (7,097 plays; 22 stations)
  9. Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud – Atlantic (5,827 plays; 50 stations)
  10. Robin Schultz, Sun Goes Down – Warner (5,180 plays; 26 stations)

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