Warner Gets The Shakes


(from Billboard Magazine, March 9, 2013) Warner Bro’s record label has been known for being a rock label, but recently they have made a shift to new types of music. The label has taken over two of the hottest hits, one hip-hop and one a dance track, which are Harlem Shake and Thrift Shop. Diplo’s Mad Decent label released Baauer’s Harlem Shake as it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a second week. The song is also leading up the charts with views on YouTube, making it one of the most viewed viral videos on the web. Holding the number two spot is Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ Thrift Shop. Warner Bros worked on the song and released it through its distribution arm, Alternative Distribution Alliance, which earns a percentage of the act’s sales as a distributor. So far Thrift Shop has sold 3.9 million copies, according to SoundScan, and has rose to number 2 from 4 on the Hot 100 Airplay with 115 million audience impressions.

Warner made a worldwide promotion and distribution one-time deal for the song Harlem Shake, but not for the artist. With the audio being used for the backing track on all of the YouTube videos, the song holds the number 1 spot on the BDS-based Streaming Songs chart with a tremendous 98 million streams, which is down 5% from the last weeks total of 103 million. The audio is also gaining attention away from the user generated videos. The audio has debuted on On-Demand Songs at number 17 with 803,000 on-demand streams. This is a 159% increase over the last week and the song has sold 297,000 downloads, making its total 588,000 downloads.

A change has certainly come with Warner’s involvement with both Thrift Shop and Harlem Shake, which shows the label reacting to the zeitgeist. The label has been able to spot social media trends and get deals done with them quickly, which is becoming important in the industry. With songs like Harlem Shake exploding over YouTube and social media, it is just now getting attention on the radio. It currently ranks just below the Mainstream Top 40 chart with a 314% increase to 559 plays. This is the reason labels like Warner are taking advantage of social media trends and putting them on the radio. Warner may just be able to get the song and others to the top of the radio charts.