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News February 4, 2021

AC/DC, Kid Laroi, helped Sony Music global revenue hit US$4.5bn in 2020

AC/DC, Kid Laroi, helped Sony Music global revenue hit US$4.5bn in 2020

AC/DC’s PWRϟUP was Sony Music’s biggest selling album in 2020, the major label announced in financial postings overnight.

The company didn’t provide specific sales figures, but the album reached #1 in 21 countries, including Australia where it debuted in the top spot on the ARIA Albums Chart.

At #7 on Sony’s top sellers for 2020 was Kid Laroi with Fuck Love.

Others albums on the list were by Harry Styles, Bruce Springsteen, Luke Combs, 21 Savage, Miley Cyrus, Polo G, 24kGoldn and Francis Cabrel.

Sony Music’s recorded music revenues hit US$4.51 billion in calendar 2020, up 8.1% YoY.

Revenue growth was attributed to a 19.5% jump in streaming (up US$467 million) to a total of US$2.87 billion, and a massive 43% rise in physical sales (mostly CDs and vinyl) to $898 million from US$803 million.

Sony simultaneously released figures for its financial Q3 (or calendar Q4, the three months to December 31) when the company shook off its coronavirus challenges.

Recording and publishing returned with strength to US$1.79 billion from US$1.52 billion.

Streaming rose 26% (or US$174 million) YOY to US$843 million, while physical continued its reboot (“higher than expected”, the company said) with an impressive 41.3% YOY to US$336 million.

Recorded music comprises 54% of revenue, music publishing which grew by 13.3% to US$430.6 million, now represents 17.2%.

The visual media & platform division, which includes anime and mobile gaming products, had a 54% rise thanks to gaming subscriptions (subscribers to PlayStation Plus exceeded 47 million users by end of December) and the Demon Slayer movie, and now has 28.12% of revenue.

Not surprisingly, Sony Music upped its forecast for the end of its fiscal year, ending March 31 2021 to US$8.5 billion. Its previous forecast had been approximately US$8.1 billion.

It expects releases from DJ Khaled, Travis Scott, Future, 21 Savage, Zara Larsson, Foo Fighters, and Kings Of Leon among others to be the major financial drivers in the first quarter of 2021.

Sony Music’s Tokyo-based parent company Sony Corp also revised its forecast, expecting to make a profit of US$10 billion at the end of its financial year.

The gaming business itself expects a 42% rise in profit, with chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki saying at a news conference: “We are on track to sell over 7.6 million units by the end of this fiscal year.”

It expects PS5 shipments to surpass the PS4’s sales to become its biggest console debut ever.


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