Who are the largest, most powerful music publishers? That’s a complicated calculation. But here’s an April certification ranking from the NMPA.
As its name implies, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) is a trade group for music publishers, specifically in the U.S. Accordingly, the NMPA tallies lots data like sales and certifications for its members, among other roles.
Of course, the RIAA also tallies album sales, downloads, and streams on the recorded side. But there’s a direct connection back to publishers, who score mechanical licenses on all of those formats. As part of a separate publisher ranking, the NMPA verifies the songwriters with their respective music publishers to ensure they’ve contributed to an RIAA certified single.
Then they send it to us.
The different certifications have varying requirements, but the levels are shared for labels and publishers. For example, to achieve gold status, sales and on-demand streams must equal 500,000; platinum is 1 million; and multi-platinum is 2 million or more (all US-based benchmarks).
How exactly are sales and streams calculated?
A few years back, the RIAA updated the way streams are calculated due to the format’s newfound dominance. Essentially, 150 streams equals one paid download, and ten paid downloads equal an album equivalent. Which means that 1,500 streams on an ‘approved, included’ streaming service equates to the ‘equivalent’ album.
Strange math for many, but it’s now the new yardstick. So, for example, Drake’s 2017 More Life album would have to be streamed 1,500 times in order for it to count as one album sale.
G-Eazy takes the cake for top songwriter in April of 2018
The hugely successful Oakland, California rapper dominated the charts with 14 certifications. G-Eazy’s music publisher is Sony/ATV. Among the fourteen certifications include “Almost Famous,” “Calm Down,” “Drifting,” and more. Those tracks and a few others were certified gold; “Let’s Get Lost,” and “Some Kind of Drug” certified gold and platinum, while “Make Me” certified platinum.
Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and Warner/Chappell are the top three most successful music publishers
Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG): 94 certifications
Sony/ATV Music Publishing: 77 certifications
Warner/Chappell: 76 certifications
Kobalt Music: 29 certifications
BMG: 23 certifications
Spirit Music Group: 12 certifications
Sea Gayle Music: 10 certifications
Primary Wave Entertainment: 10 certifications
Wixen Music Publishing: 7 certifications
Reservoir Media Management: 5 certifications
The Administration MP, Inc.: 4 certifications
Big Yellow Dog Music: 3 certifications
To view the full list of music publishers and songwriters, click here.