The 3 major music companies employed over 27,000 people between them last year – up by 6,660 on 2017

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The three major music companies had 27,292 employees on their books in the past year, according to financial filings posted by each of them in recent months.

The 27,292 figure – which covers both permanent and temporary staff – was up by more than 1,000 people on the cumulative headcount of the ‘big three’ one year previously (26,205).

It was also up by 6,660 on the 20,632 aggregate headcount the three firms shared five years prior.

In this circumstance, ‘major music companies’ refers to:

Below, MBW digs deeper into these headcount numbers, with additional context…

Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group had a global headcount of 9,992 employees at the close of 2022 (December 31), up by 487 people year-on-year.

Universal’s 9,992 employees at this time were made up of 9,286 permanent employees and 706 temporary employees.

UMG’s FY 2022 annual report for investors breaks down the 9,992 employees by gender, with 51% (5,079) named as women and 49% (4,913) named as men.

The biggest headcount in a single region was in Europe, where UMG employed 4,161 people in 2022 – 42% of its global workforce.

The firm’s second biggest employment territory was North America, where UMG employed 3,951 people in 2022 – 39% of its global headcount.

This means over four-fifths (81%) of UMG’s global headcount in 2022 were located in either North America or Europe.

According to the annual report, UMG hired 2,133 new employees last year, and saw 1,614 departures.

Some 1,295 of those departures were of permanent staff – of which 887 came via resignation, and 212 came via termination.

How much revenue, on average, did each of UMG’s 9,992 employees generate in 2022?

According to its fiscal filings, Universal Music Group generated EUR €10.340 billion across all divisions during the course of calendar 2022.

Considering its 9,992 total headcount in 2022, this meant that, on average, each UMG employee generated, ‘per head’, EUR €1.04 million (USD $1.09 million) in the year.

Sony Group Corp: Music divisions

The number of employees in Sony Group Corp’s Music division hit 11,100 at the end of its FY 2022 (end of March 2023), according to filings, up by 300 vs. the prior-year period.

Crunching Sony’s numbers beyond this, however, requires some important context is required; this one’s a little complex.

On the surface, it might seem that Sony’s music operation (with 11,100 employees as of March 2023) is bigger than Universal Music Group’s (9,992 as of December 2022).

However, this isn’t a like-for-like scenario.

In addition to its recorded music and music publishing operations, Sony Group Corp’s Music division also houses a substantial ‘Visual Media & Platform’ (VM&P) sub-division, which generated 203.01 billion Japanese Yen (USD $1.50 billion) in the 12 months to end of March 2023 (Sony’s fiscal 2022).

This Tokyo-headquartered ‘Visual Media & Platform’ operation, according to Sony filings, is responsible for “the production and distribution of animation titles and [mobile] game applications” – and therefore arguably has little to do with the typical business of being a music company.

This is why VM&P is usually omitted by MBW when we report on the music rights revenue performance of Sony each quarter.

Sony’s ‘Music’ segment financial results – including the performance of ‘Visual Media & Platform’, which generated around USD $1.5 billion in FY 2022

Unfortunately, Sony Group Corp – in its annual 20-F filings – doesn’t break out Visual Media & Platform from Sony’s other Music divisions when it comes to reporting annual headcount.

This means the 11,100 people that Sony’s Music division employed globally as of the end of March 2023 (the close of Sony’s FY 2022) includes those working within VM&P, in addition to headcounts within recorded music and music publishing.

Helpfully, however, Sony Group Corp’s 20-F filing does at least break down the 11,100 headcount figure into two sub-groups: (i) Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), and (ii) Sony’s music operation outside of Japan. The latter is run globally by Sony Music Group Chairman, Rob Stringer.

What the latest 20-F report shows: Of the 11,100 total Music employees at Sony Group Corp at the close of FY 2022 (end of March 2023), Sony Music Entertainment Japan housed 4,200 of them, with its US-headquartered sister music company housing a further 6,900 around the globe.

How much revenue, on average, did each of Sony Group Corp’s 11,100 music employees generate in FY 2022 (to end of March 2023)?

When you include ‘Visual Media & Platform’ in Sony’s global music results for the fiscal year to end of March 2023, the company generated a whopping 1.3648 trillion Japanese Yen in the period.

That equates, at annual exchange rates to USD $10.08 billion – meaning that those 11,100 ‘Music’ division employees generated, on average, around USD $908,108 each during the 12 months in question.

Warner Music Group

Warner Music Group finished its last financial year (to end of September 2022) with 6,200 employees worldwide, according to its annual filing with the SEC.

That figure was up by 300 employees on the prior year’s equivalent figure (5,900), and up by 1,680 employees vs. the equivalent figure from five years prior (2017).

WMG, under the management of new CEO, Robert Kyncl, is the only major music company so far this year to announce lay-offs.

The firm cut approximately 4% of staff in calendar Q1 2023 – equivalent to about 270 roles, which would have taken global headcount down towards 5,930.

Kyncl said he intends to re-invest the money saved from these redundancies into the development of new technology at WMG.

WMG is certainly not alone as a media company trimming its staff figures this year.

Meta, for example, cut 10,000 roles in April/May – following an additional 11,000 redundancies carried out in November last year.

Meanwhile, Spotify has cut around 800 roles this year, following an initial round of lay-offs in January (approx 600 positions eliminated), and a further 200 jobs in its podcasting division being axed in June.

How much revenue, on average, did each of Warner Music Group’s 6,200 employees generate in FY 2022 (to end of September 2022)?

This one is simple enough: In its 2022 fiscal year (to end of September ’22), Warner Music Group generated – across all divisions – USD $5.919 billion.

Those 6,200 employees therefore generated, on average, USD $954,677 per head in the 12 months.Music Business Worldwide

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