Sony Music posts another billion-dollar quarter, as streaming revenues grow 21%

Sony’s recorded music operation generated more than a billion dollars for the second quarter in a row in the three months to end of September.

According to MBW calculations based on a fiscal update from parent Sony Corp today (October 30), Sony Music’s global streaming revenues hit $622m in the quarter, up 21.4% year-on-year.

Total recorded music revenues in the three months (calendar Q3, but Sony’s fiscal Q2) stood at $1.04bn, up 10.5% year-on-year.

Physical music sales in the quarter stood at $189.1m, up 3.6% year-on-year – continuing an interesting trend also seen at Universal Music Group, where physical recorded music revenues also rose YoY in the same three months.

Sony’s biggest-selling artist projects globally, on a revenue basis, in the three months were, in order: Tool’s Fear Inoculum, Lil Nas X’s Panini (7 EP), Chris Brown’s Indigo, Khalid’s Free Spirit and Kang Daniel’s colour on me.

(Fear Inoculum by Tool – pictured – topped the Billboard 200 chart in August, selling 270,000 units in its debut week in the US – of which 248,000 were ‘pure’ album sales.)

In the first nine calendar months of 2019, Sony’s recorded music revenues hit $3.01bn, up 4.8% (or approximately $138m) year-on-year.

Sony Music’s nine-month streaming revenues in the same period weighed in at $1.73bn, up 18.9% (or approximately $275m) year-on-year.

(All % figures here have been calculated using USD converted from Yen on a constant currency basis, using the prevailing rates in each respective period.)

Sony Corp’s music publishing operation – which includes Sony/ATV, Sony Music Publishing Japan and the recently-acquired EMI Music Publishing – posted external quarterly revenues of $357.6m (38.41bn Yen) in calendar Q3 / fiscal Q2.

Sony’s overall music division – including recorded music, publishing and ‘visual media and platform’ – posted quarterly sales of $2.04bn (219.28bn Yen) in calendar Q3 / fiscal Q2, up 11.6% year-on-year at the US dollar level.

And in the same quarter, Sony Corp’s overall music division posted a quarterly operating profit of $349m (37.48bn Yen), up 23.5% (or approximately ($66m) year-on-year.

Note: 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 Q3 2017: 111.0 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q4 2017: 113.0 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q1 2018: 108.4 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q2 2018: 109.1 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q3 2018: 111.5 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q4 2018: 112.9 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q1 2019: 110.3 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q2 2019: 109.9 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q3 2019: 107.4 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/ATV, and US-based EMI Music Publishing.

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

You can see the Yen-level stats from Sony’s quarterly and annual recorded music results below:

Music Business Worldwide

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