Major labels generated $5bn in first half of 2016 – as Universal took lion’s share

MBW has been crunching the three major labels’ fiscal numbers from the first half of 2016, and discovered some interesting trends.

Universal, Sony and Warner’s recorded music divisions turned over a combined figure of $5.18bn in the six month period.

Of this sum, around 34% – or $1.76bn – came from streaming and subscription services.

What did that mean in terms of global market share?

Well, we don’t have any information about independent label turnover at this point, so this is purely a major vs. major market depiction.

It’s also skewed by currency fluctuations – to maintain parity, income at Universal (Euros) and Sony (Yen) have been converted into US dollars at today’s rate.

However, as a broad representation, this is pretty sound.

Universal Music Group‘s recorded music division turned over €1.832bn ($2.04bn) in H1 2016.

Sony Music Entertainment‘s recorded music division turned over 190.89bn Yen ($1.83bn) in the same period, with Warner Music – a US company – generating $1.3bn in total.

That left Universal (just) securing a 40% share of worldwide turnover, with Sony on 35% and Warner on 25%.

Like-for-like, using the same currency exchange rates, Universal and Sony lost 1% share apiece compared to 2015, with Warner pinching both points.

(Remember that these percentages include all recorded music income at the majors, factoring in licensing (including sync) as well as sales and streams.)


In streaming terms, things are possibly even more interesting.

Universal generated €653m ($729m) in streaming cash in the six-month period – equivalent to 35.6% of its own recorded music income, and 42% of the global major label streamibg marketplace.

Sony generated 63.05bn Yen ($605m) from streaming – equivalent to 33% of its recorded music income, and 35% of the global major streaming marketplace.

And Warner generated approximately $430m from streaming – equivalent to 32%-33% of its recorded music income, and 24% of the global major streaming marketplace.

(Warner didn’t give a solid figure for streaming in calendar Q1, but did reveal enough information for us to make a worthwhile estimate.)


Interesting to note that, even with a margin of currency fluctuations accounted for, Universal clearly claims a bigger stake of the streaming market than the overall major marketplace.

As previously noted, MBW estimates that between them, the majors generate around $10m from streaming services (including YouTube) every single day.

For more on streaming market share, check out Mark Mulligan’s great piece of Q2 analysis through this link.Music Business Worldwide

Related Posts