News May 14, 2020

Streaming revenue escalate for Sony Music, Warner Music

Streaming revenue escalate for Sony Music, Warner Music

Streaming continued to be the driving force for the fortunes of and in the first three months of 2020.

Sony Music’s streaming revenue totalled US$641.7 million in the first quarter, representing a 27.4% jump from the same period in 2019.

This followed from Warner Music’s similar feat in the same period.

The major announced last week that its recorded had turned over $586 million, up 9.1% (or 11% in constant) from the same period in 2019.

Sony Music’s across-the-board recorded music revenues rise 13.5% year-on-year to $1.074 billion.

Sony’s publishing side whipped up $367.6 million, up 14.6% YoY, while Warner’s publishing revenue was up 5.1% to $166 million.

Warner’s growth in digital, synchronization and mechanical revenue was partially offset by a decline in performance revenue.

Sony named its most successful artists in 2020 as Harry Styles, Future, Nas X, Doja Cat, JACKBOYS, Ozzy Osbourne, Luke Combs, Camila Cabello, Travis Scott and Khalid.

Over at Warner, the big hitters were Tones & I, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheehan, Lizzo and Roddy Ricch.

The effects of the coronavirus had just begun at the end of March, but Sony Music’s parent company Sony Corp warned shareholders to expect a bumpy ride for the rest of the year.

It expected a drop in new music as artists were finding it difficult to record new tracks and make music videos because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Ticket revenue, merchandising revenue and video revenue are decreasing, as concerts and other events are being postponed and cancelled in Japan and other areas,” the company said.

“Due to a global reduction in advertising spending, revenue from advertising-supported streaming services and revenue from the licensing of music in TV commercials is decreasing.”

Warner CEO Stephen Cooper pointed out that digital revenue now represents 65.3% of total revenues (60.6% in Q2 2019) after it grew 5.7% to $699 million, or 7.4% in constant currency.

This high representation protected WMG during the pandemic, he said.

“This makes us more resilient in a crisis such as this,” he noted during an investor call, adding that streaming subscriptions remained “strong and healthy”.

However, the pandemic could “affect recording and songwriting schedules.”

He emphasised, “In these unprecedented times, we’re determined to protect the livelihoods of our artists, our songwriters and our people.

“We’re confident that our distinctive combination of creative innovation and financial discipline will help us weather this storm and emerge stronger, better and more agile than ever.”

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