Republic Records CEO Monte Lipman on Being Hitmakers Label of the Year



It’s remarkable enough that Republic Records has been Hitmakers label of the year four out of seven times — but they exceeded themselves in 2023 with 12 of the top 25 songs on our chart. Yes, country superstar Morgan Wallen held six of those slots, including No. 1 (with “Last Night”), but there are also two songs each from Taylor Swift and Metro Boomin, one from the Weeknd (who also features on Metro’s “Creepin’”), and Drake with 21 Savage.

Monte and his brother Avery, who is Republic’s president/COO (pictured above, right and left), founded the label back in 1995 after both had spent several years in senior roles at Arista, EMI, Atlantic and other labels. They saw an early global smash with Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and within five years had formed Universal Republic Records as a joint venture with the major that is still their partner — and is the leading label within Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company. It is a testament to Republic’s roster that its 10 songs on the Hitmakers chart in 2019, the last time it was label of the year, were nearly all by different artists than in 2023.

You’ve been Hitmakers’ label of the year before, but never on this scale.

I didn’t realize we had nearly half! That’s exciting, but to some degree does not come as a surprise. There’s a competitive spirit here that I believe is second to none. We’re never satisfied, and fortunately we’re able to use that in a very positive, competitive way. We set our expectations very high, and a tremendous amount of detail goes into the strategy.

How has your role changed over the years? Obviously when you and Avery started Republic you were in the trenches, but now you’re in more of a CEO-chairman role.

I think of myself as the head coach: My job is to coach the coaches. We identify the strengths and play to them, and when certain areas need improvement, we focus on that as well. We’re very fortunate because we have an incredible team — we empower them and encourage them to operate with a sense of independence and autonomy.

You seem to place a lot of value in empowering people and sharing credit for success.

In this business, ego is the number-one killer, and I look for every opportunity to recognize those people that make a difference — that’s why I really appreciate what you’ve created with Hitmakers, because you list the team members. I find that to be really, really respectful. At this company, if you light up the scoreboard, you will certainly be recognized. Tyler Arnold and Ben Adelson are brilliant case studies. They both started as interns working very closely with Avery, and eventually signing some of the biggest artists in the world, which led to their opportunity to run Mercury Records.

What goes into working a Taylor Swift record? Obviously her company handles a lot of the process, how do you complement it?

It always starts with Taylor. She inspires this company with her passion for music, for songwriting, for storytelling, but also her work ethic — it’s just unprecedented, her level of discipline and determination. That brings the best out of all of us. And also, her sense of curiosity: She asks very profound questions about the market, new technologies and innovations. We’re constantly exploring new ideas together, and we’re in lockstep with her team at all times.

Anything more you’d like to say about this year?

Most importantly, I need to recognize my partner, cofounder, and brother Avery Lipman. There’s no Republic without Avery. He’s the bedrock of our success and exemplifies true leadership with a sense of patience, intellect, and respect for all. And of course [co-presidents] Jim Roppo and Wendy Goldstein. It’s critical that they be recognized. But overall, I have gratitude for the incredible artists that we work with and for our amazing team, and the supportive of UMG. It’s a simple business if you keep it simple.


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