Elements Align For Sony/ATV Success

Troy Tomlinson

Just like the weather, Sony/ATV is on a hot-streak. The publishing company has scored the top spot on Billboard’s Country Publishers Airplay Chart for four of the last five quarters. The most recent chart (issue date 5/28/11) measures country radio airplay during the first quarter of 2011, showing Sony/ATV with 15.9% market share.

Troy Tomlinson, Pres./CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville, says his office has had about 20 singles on the chart each quarter for the last several quarters. The rankings measure airplay of the top 100 songs from 197 monitored country stations, as compiled by the Harry Fox Agency.

Numerous factors have to align to achieve this kind of track record, explains Tomlinson. “No individual act can make a publisher No. 1 in airplay. In order to consistently be No. 1, or even in the top 2 or 3, it takes a combination of a quality writer roster and quality creative team. In addition to that, it takes the artists, A&R people, and producers seeking out the very best songs. Success is a culmination of all of those elements.”

Because the life of a radio single is often more than the 12 weeks in a quarter, an artist might have only have one single per quarter. Sometimes two singles from the same act will chart in the same quarter, particularly if one is past its peak and heading down, while the follow-up is starting to climb.

Tomlinson adds, “No one can set out to be publisher of the quarter, because we don’t have control of which songs get released. That is at the discretion of the record labels and the artists.”

Among the first quarter country hits that helped boost Sony/ATV to the top: “Don’t You Wanna Stay” (Jason Aldean w/ Kelly Clarkson), “I Won’t Let Go” (Rascal Flatts), “Back To December” (Taylor Swift), “Let Me Down Easy” (Billy Currington), “Hello World” (Lady Antebellum), “Heart Like Mine” (Miranda Lambert) and “Felt Good On My Lips” (Tim McGraw).

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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