News April 23, 2021

Universal Music Group revenue up 9.4% in Q1 2021 as IPO brought forward

Universal Music Group revenue up 9.4% in Q1 2021 as IPO brought forward

()’s revenue was up 9.4% in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the same period the year before.

Revenues reached €1.8 billion (AU$2.8 billion), a strong performance as its parent company moved its IPO from early 2022 to the northern autumn of 2021.

This followed an impressive set of figures from the 2020 calendar year when it grew 4.7% to revenues of €7.432 billion ($11.59 billion) – despite the pandemic – and a rise in profit by €220 million ($343.1 million) from the previous year.

Music Business Worldwide broke these numbers down to Universal Music Group – the largest record company in the world – earning $31.7million a day, or $1.29 million an hour.

In the Q1 period, recorded music revenues were up 10.8% to €1.48 billion ($2.3 billion), thanks to sales from new releases from Japan’s King & Prince and Justin Bieber, as well as continued sales from The Weeknd, Ariana Grande and Pop Smoke.

Streaming continued its ride up the escalator, following a 19.6% increase to just over €1 billion ($1.55 billion).

On the Spotify global chart, UMG had the #1 track for 12 out of 13 weeks in the first quarter of 2021, with Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Drivers License’ and Bieber’s ‘Peaches’. UMG also had all top three songs on Spotify’s global chart for six consecutive weeks.

Physical music had a solid quarter, up 9.1% to €213 million ($332.2 million) from catalogue sales and strong CD and vinyl demand for some of its new releases. However, the rapid irrelevancy of downloads continued, tumbling 40.9% to €81 million ($126.3 million), a faster rate of decline compared to the 26% drop in Q1 2020.

Licensing and other revenue was flat, showing a 0.1% shrinkage to €181 million ($282.2 million). Music publishing was up 6.9% to €271 million ($422. 6 million), also driven by increased subscription and streaming revenues.

But with virtually no touring in the world, it was inevitable that merchandising revenue fell 10%.

Vivendi attributed Universal Music Group’s performance for its own €3.901 billion ($6 billion) revenues, up 5% from the same period 12 months before.

After the music company’s IPO, Vivendi will only keep a 20% stake in the company which it has owned since 2004.

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