Sony Music soared in calendar Q1, with over $1.3bn in recorded music revenue banked

Sony’s recorded music operation posted $1.34bn in revenues in the three months to end of March this year.

That represented a year-on-year jump in quarterly revenue of 25%, or around $269 million, on the $1.074bn Sony’s recorded music companies posted in the prior year quarter (calendar Q1 2020).

However, the way Sony calculates its recorded music streaming figures for the 12 months to end of March 2021 has slightly changed versus the prior year, due to it now counting additional gross revenues paid over by streaming platforms, including a portion of those destined for its partner labels.

This led to a slight upwards adjustment for Sony’s latest quarter than would have otherwise been reported.

Of the $1.34bn Sony’s recorded music companies generated in calendar Q1, some $863 million – or 64% – came from streaming platforms.

These figures arrived today (April 28) in Sony Group Corp’s latest quarterly financial results for calendar Q1 (the company’s fiscal Q4).

Across Sony’s fiscal year (to end of March 2021), the firm’s recorded music operation generated $4.87 billion, with $3.18 billion of this coming from streaming.

Sony’s most successful artist projects in revenue-generating terms in calendar Q1 2021 were, in order:

  • Harry Styles, Fine Line
  • The Kid LAROI, F*CK LOVE (Savage)
  • Foo Fighters, Medicine At Midnight
  • Doja Cat, Hot Pink
  • Luke Combs, What You See Is What You Get
  • Miley Cyrus, Plastic Hearts
  • Polo G, THE GOAT
  • Travis Scott, ASTROWORLD
  • 24kGoldn, El Dorado

Sony Music Publishing logo

Sony’s results also reveal how the company’s global music publishing operation – including Sony Music Publishing and Sony Music Publishing Japan – performed in the latest fiscal quarter and the financial year.

Sony Music Publishing globally generated $408.0 million in the three months to end of March 2021, which was up 11% YoY vs. the $367.5m it generated in Q1 2020.

(The adjustment made to Sony’s recorded music results for calendar Q1 2021 doesn’t apply to the publishing revenues, meaning that 11% rise is a like-for-like on Q1 2020.)

Of that $408.0 million quarterly publishing revenue in Q1 2021, streaming generated $191.3m, revealed Sony’s figures today.

(All YoY percentage rises/falls published here are calculated at the US dollar-converted level.)

See below for the breakdown of Sony’s quarterly figures in Yen, as publishing by Sony Group Corp.

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 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

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.

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