Warner Music Group recently reported a 20% increase in their streaming revenue for the now finalized first quarter, as reported by Music Business Worldwide. The American multinational entertainment and record label conglomerate is one of the “big three” recording companies and the third largest in the global music industry, after Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. Within this recorded music figure was $722 million from streaming, a number which was up by 23.2% YoY (or 20.3% at constant currency) in comparison to calendar Q1 2020.
Steve Cooper, CEO of Warner Music Group, said via a press statement, “Following a strong first quarter, I’m happy to report that our momentum continued in Q2, and our business is stronger than ever. Despite the ongoing pandemic, we generated double-digit revenue growth in both Recorded Music and Music Publishing. Our success was driven by chart-topping new releases from our incredible artists and songwriters, as well as bold and imaginative execution from our world-class operators. We’re excited about the rest of year, as we have a fantastic slate of new music coming from established superstars and emerging talent.”
Although 2020 was a relative flat year for the Warner Music Group, it is important to remember how COVID-19 impacts the increasing trends. Excluding artist services and expanded-rights revenue in Recorded Music and performance revenue in Music Publishing, the areas most affected by COVID, total revenue would have increased 19.9% (or 16.3% in constant currency).
Revenue increases in the quarter were reportedly driven by “robust” digital revenue growth across Recorded Music and Music Publishing, strong Recorded Music physical revenue performance, and an increase in Music Publishing synchronization revenue. The revenue increase was primarily due to the continuing growth in streaming revenue, which grew 23.2%, reflecting accelerated revenue growth in emerging streaming platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, and Peloton.
Eric Levin, Executive Vice President and CFO of Warner Music Group, added in the press statement, “In the second quarter, the continued strength of our core streaming business was bolstered by impressive growth in revenue from emerging streaming platforms, which drove healthy margins and free cash flow. We look forward to delivering long-term value as we continue to invest in culture-shifting talent, innovative technology, and dynamic new partnerships.”
Warner said that its biggest-selling artists for recorded music in the quarter included Dua Lipa, Michael Bublé, Ed Sheeran, Ava Max and Japanese rock band The Yellow Monkey.