Sony Music streaming revenues grew 8.2% last quarter, as overall sales hit $946m

Sony Music’s streaming revenues climbed 8.2% year-on-year in the three months to end of March 2019, as the company’s total recorded music sales reached $946.3m.

The latter number represented a YoY decline of 6.5%, and was hampered by a 36.8% drop in quarterly revenues from physical sales, as Sony continued to become an increasingly streaming-led company.

Streaming revenues reached $503.7m in the quarter, with physical sales dipping to $176.9m.

These numbers are US dollar-level MBW calculations based on new figures released today (April 26) in Japanese Yen by Sony Music’s parent, Sony Corp.

Streaming accounted for 53.2% of Sony’s recorded music revenues in calendar Q1 (the firm’s fiscal Q4), with physical making up 18.7%, download on 8.6% and ‘other’ on 19.5%.

Sony’s biggest-selling global artist projects in the quarter were (in order): (i) Travis Scott‘s ASTROWORLD; (ii) 21 Savage’s I Am > I Was; (iii) Khalid’s Free Spirit; (iv) Future’s Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD; (v) Backstreet Boys’ DNA.

(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 has also announced the company’s full fiscal year (FY 2018) results today, reflecting the 12 months to end of March 2019.

They show that Sony’s recorded music streaming revenues in this annual period hit $2.05bn, up 15.2% year-on-year at the dollar level.

Total label revenues reached $3.85bn, down 4.5% year-on-year. Again, the biggest culprit in that decline was a sharp fall in physical sales, which dropped 33.7% to $807.6m.

Sony’s biggest-selling artist projects in the 12 month period were, in order: (i) Travis Scott’s ASTROWORLD; (ii) Camila Cabello’s Camila; (iii) Luke Combs’ This One’s for You; (iv) George Ezra’s Staying at Tamara’s; and (v) various releases from Calvin Harris.

Sony Corp’s music publishing operation – which now includes Sony/ATV, Sony Music Publishing Japan and EMI Music Publishing – posted calendar Q1 (fiscal Q4) revenues of $320.9m (35.39bn Yen), up 76.9% year-on-year (from $181.4m in the prior year quarter).

Full-year publishing revenues (to end of March) hit $961.8m (106.66bn Yen), up 43.4% compared to FY2017 ($670.5m).

Sony’s overall music division – including recorded music, publishing and ‘visual media and platform’ – posted quarterly sales of $1.93bn (212.81bn Yen) in calendar Q1, up 1.3% at constant currency on the prior year quarter ($1.90bn).

Total music revenues (recorded plus publishing plus ‘visual media and platform’) across the full fiscal year to end of March 2019 reached $7.28bn (807.49bn Yen), up 0.9% on the prior 12 months ($7.21bn)

Sony Corp’s music division also posted an annual operating profit of $2.1bn (232.49bn Yen), up 81.9% on that posted in FY2017 ($1.15bn).

The leap in both operating income and publishing revenues was driven by the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing from Mubadala in mid-November last year.

EMP is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corp.

[Pictured, main: 21 Savage.]

Note: MBW has reverse-engineered 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 2017: 113.7 Yen per USD
  • Calendar Q2 2017: 111.1 Yen per USD
  • 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 2018: 110.3 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.

We have also, in the case of fiscal year conversion to USD, applied the following, based on exchange rates provided by Sony:

  • FY2017: 110.9 Yen per USD
  • FY2018: 110.9Yen per USD

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 Music’s quarterly and annual results below:

Music Business Worldwide

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