Universal just had ‘the best year for any music company ever’

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group, speaks at Sir Lucian Grainge's 2019 Artist Showcase Presented by Citi on February 9, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision for Universal Music Group/AP Images)

The full-year 2018 results of Universal Music Group will be revealed by Vivendi on Thursday (February 14). We currently don’t know exactly what they’ll indicate – but we do know UMG is feeling seriously confident.

At a special Grammys artist showcase in Los Angeles on Saturday (February 9), an audience of high-ranking UMG executives and partners of the company were treated to exclusive performances from the likes of J Balvin, Post Malone, Blackpink, 2 Chainz and Greta Van Fleet, amongst others.

Yet what also caught MBW’s eye at the event was a chest-beating opening video, which happened to arrive just as Vivendi is cranking up the process by which it will sell up to 50% of UMG.

The video not only revealed that Universal Music Group artists have pulled in over one trillion streams on all platforms since January 1st last year, but also informed onlookers that UMG’s 2018 represented “the best year for any music company ever”.

In his introductory remarks, UMG Chairman and CEO Sir Lucan Grainge (pictured) told the crowd: “2018 was another record-setting year for UMG on so many levels. The team from UMG globally sitting in this room today is responsible for our historic performance and i’d like to give credit to them and thank them.”

Grainge then asked any Universal executives in the room to stand up, and led a round of applause for his troops.

“The teams at our labels couldn’t be more different… that’s by design and is a critical ingredient to our success,” added Grainge. “The fact is, we are not monolithic. We are collection of dynamic companies that form partnerships with phenomenal label entrepreneurs including Top Dawg, Coach and Pee, Drake and Future, Jay Z, Slim and Baby, Scott Borchetta, Scooter [Braun], Alex Da Kid, to name just a few – and of course our partners Disney and Concord.

“What our labels and these entrepreneurs have in common is this: we believe that an artist we discover will change culture and will make their mark.”

In the first nine months of 2018, Universal Music Group posted all-time record recorded music revenues of €3.28bn ($3.93bn), up 10.2% YoY at constant currency.

In total, Universal Music Group, across records, publishing and more, posted €4.12bn ($4.94bn) in the first nine months of 2018, up 9.1% on the same period of 2017.

With a strong Q4, UMG will have turned over somewhere close to $7bn in the full year of 2018.

[Pictured: Sir Lucian Grainge gives a speech at the Music Is Universal showcase in Los Angeles on February 9]Music Business Worldwide

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