Atlantic Records entered 2010 as the top label in market share, a whopping 12 slots up from where the company was in '04, when COO Julie Greenwald—previously a trailblazing executive at Def Jam—marched through the door. Greenwald's strategy is to develop her artists early on as unique brands and position their individual websites as boutiques offering products unavailable at Best Buy—including one-of-a-kind collectibles, exclusive remixes, and dibs on concert tickets. "Our artists' websites are the most important place for us," Greenwald says. "Not just for the artist to communicate about how they're making the album, what they're thinking, their blogs, their photos, their tours, but also where super-fans can get the dopest merch." As a result of her direct-to-consumer strategy, the storied home of Ray Charles and the Rolling Stones is now the only major label drawing more than half its revenue from digital products, including the highest- and third-highest-selling digital songs of the past decade: Flo Rida's "Low" and Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours." And yet the woman Jay-Z likes to call Cool Jules is also looking forward by looking backward. She sees the iPad as a chance to restore the emotional connection fans used to feel with cherished albums, to "bring back that thing we've been missing—what you used to get when you held a piece of vinyl and took out the liner notes and looked at the art. Now we're going to bring that artwork to life."

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