Sony generated over $2bn from recorded music and publishing in calendar Q2; recorded music revenues were up 11.2% YoY

Credit: Hanna Moon / press
Harry Styles' Harry's House was Sony Music's biggest global record in calendar Q2 2022. Styles' previous album, Fine Line, was the company's sixth biggest in the quarter

Sony’s global music rights operation – across recorded music and music publishing – generated USD $2.03 billion in the three months to end of June 2022.

That’s according to MBW’s calculations based on Sony Group Corp’s calendar Q2 (fiscal Q1) 2022 results, as announced by the Japanese firm earlier today (July 29).

The $2.03 billion figure was up 11.7% year-on-year (vs. calendar Q2 2021) at US dollar-converted constant currency.

(Understanding Sony’s results at a US dollar-converted constant currency level is particularly important for calendar Q2 2022, when the strength of the dollar vs. the Japanese Yen – the currency in which Sony reports its earnings– rose to historic levels.)

In monetary terms, Sony’s overall music rights operation (recorded music plus music publishing) generated approximately $212 million more in calendar Q2 2022 than in the prior-year quarter.

[Note: Corporately speaking, Sony Group’s global music operation includes recorded music, plus music publishing, plus ‘Visual Media & Platform’. The final category primarily covers mobile games and animation projects, and has been omitted from the revenue calculations in this analysis.]

Sony’s global recorded music operation generated USD $1.542 billion in calendar Q2 2022 – according to MBW’s calculations – up 11.2% YoY versus the equivalent quarterly period of the prior year.

Within that calendar Q2 2022 global recorded music result, streaming generated $1.075 billion, up 7.9% YoY.

(This ‘streaming’ number covers both subscription and ad-funded streaming revenues generated by Sony’s global recorded music operation.)

Sony saw YoY gains in quarterly revenues for physical music sales (+$8m YoY to $198m) and for its ‘Other’ fiscal category within recorded music (+$71m YoY to $211m).

The latter category (‘Other’) includes license revenue (public performance, broadcast and sync), merchandising and live performance income.

In monetary terms, Sony’s global recorded music operation generated approximately $155 million more in calendar Q2 2022 than in the prior-year quarter.

According to Sony Corp‘s results, Sony Music Entertainment‘s ten biggest recorded music projects in the calendar Q2 2022 quarter (ex-Japan), in order of global revenue generation, were:

  1. Harry Styles, Harry’s House
  2. Future, I NEVER LIKED YOU
  3. Doja Cat, Planet Her
  4. Lil Durk, 7220
  5. Lil Nas X, MONTERO
  6. Harry Styles, Fine Line
  7. Tyler, The Creator, CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST
  8. The Kid LAROI, F*CK LOVE 3+: OVER YOU
  9. Camila Cabello, Familia
  10. TOOL, Fear Inoculum

Sony’s global music publishing operation – led by Sony Music Publishing – generated $487.3 million in the three months to end of June this year.

That quarterly revenue figure, at the US dollar level, was up 13.2% year-on-year.

Sony’s global music publishing operation derived $258.3 million of its quarterly revenues in the calendar Q2 2022 period from streaming.

That publishing streaming figure was up 19.8% year-on-year.

Sony Corp also today issued some profit numbers for its corporate Music division in the three months to end of June 2022.

(The following figures include Sony’s operations across Recorded Music, Music Publishing plus Visual Media & Platform. Sony doesn’t break out profits for its corporate Music division in the same way it does revenue, so for divisional operating income VM&P cannot be extracted/omitted.)

In calendar Q2 2022, Sony’s corporate Music division posted a quarterly operating income of 60.97 billion Yen (USD $471m).

That represented an operating margin of 19.8%, from total divisional quarterly revenues of 308.07 billion Yen (USD $2.38bn).

Note: All YoY percentage rises/falls published in this story are calculated at constant currency at the US dollar-converted level. MBW uses Sony’s own quarterly average currency rates for these calculations.

See below for the breakdown of Sony’s latest (fiscal) quarterly figures for music in Japanese Yen, as published by Sony Group Corp today.

For this analysis, MBW has calculated Sony’s financials from Japanese Yen into US dollars at the following prevailing exchange rates in each quarter, as confirmed by Sony Corp:

  • Calendar Q1 2020: 109.0 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q2 2020: 107.6 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q3 2020: 106.2 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q4 2020: 104.5 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q1 2021: 105.9 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q2 2021: 109.5 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q3 2021: 110.1 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q4 2021: 113.7 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q1 2022: 116.1 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q2 2022: 129.4 Yen per USD

By applying these exchange figures to each applicable period, we effectively get a US-leaning constant currency picture of Sony Music’s performance.

This isn’t a perfect system; it risks overplaying Sony Music Entertainment’s global business slightly by converting a chunk of revenues from Sony Music Entertainment Japan (which would usually be straight-reported in Yen) into US dollars.

But it provides us with a cleaner reflection of the performance of New York-based Sony Music Entertainment outside of FX distortion, because the company had to convert its US currency into Yen in the first place for Sony Corp’s results. The same is true for US-based Sony Music Publishing.

MBW believes this currency exchange system is the yardstick used internally at Sony Music Group‘s HQ in New York.

(Fiscal Year Yen-to-USD conversions have been made at 112.3 average annual rate as provided by Sony Group Corp.)

Sony’s own description of its three corporate music divisions is as follows:

  • Recorded Music – Streaming includes the distribution of digital recorded music by streaming; Recorded Music – Others includes the distribution of recorded music by physical media and digital download as well as revenue derived from artists’ live performances;
  • Music Publishing includes the management and licensing of the words and music of songs;
  • Visual Media and Platform includes the production and distribution of animation titles, including game applications based on the animation titles, and various service offerings for music and visual products.

Within / covering the first two divisions listed above:

  • Sony Music Publishing, run by CEO & Chairman Jon Platt, is Sony’s US-headquartered music publishing operation.
  • Sony Music Entertainment, run by CEO Rob Stringer, is Sony’s US-headquartered recorded music operation.
  • And Sony Music Group – also run by Rob Stringer, as Chairman – is Sony’s US-headquartered umbrella group for both Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Publishing.

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