Universal Music Publishing could become a $1bn company this year

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) is in real contention of turning over more than a billion dollars this year.

That’s the conclusion of MBW’s analysis of Universal parent Vivendi’s latest quarterly results, released yesterday (July 30).

As you can see below, in terms of Euros (the currency of Paris-based Vivendi), UMPG generated €409m in the six months to end of June this year.

That was up 2.3% in real terms on H1 2017’s UMPG revenues (€400m) but – as highlighted by Vivendi – this growth doesn’t reflect the true picture, due to a fluctuating USD-EUR currency comparison.

At constant currency, says Vivendi, UMPG’s half-year revenues were actually up 11.1% year-on-year.

Here’s just one reason that’s impressive: 11.1% was a bigger percentage rise than that seen by both Universal’s recorded music operation (up 7.4% year-on-year in H1 at constant currency) and UMG’s total operation (up 6.8%) in the first half of 2018.

How does this performance translate into US dollars?

In the chart below, MBW has converted UMPG’s reported half-year Euro performance at the average six-month (H1) prevailing EUR-USD exchange rate in each year.

This gives us a fair picture of how UMPG’s global business is performing in terms of US dollars.

As you can see, in the first half of 2018, the company turned over some $495m (converted from the reported €409m for the period).

Bear in mind that, according to Vivendi, UMPG’s revenues were slightly stronger in the second half of 2017 than the first half (€454m vs. €400m) and you have to say… the major publisher appears very much in contention of turning over a cool billion dollars in 2018.

Since the start of 2015, UMPG has been ruled by Jody Gerson  – the first ever global female CEO of a major music company.

According to our dollar-level chart above, in the year before Gerson took over, UMPG turned over circa $372m in the first half of 2014.

Just four years on, in the first half of 2018, that half-year figure has grown by 33%, or $123m.

UMPG’s H1 2018 performance was boosted by the runaway success of Post Malone (pictured main and inset with Gerson), whom Gerson signed to UMPG back in 2015.

The act, whose record-breaking Beerbongs & Bentleys album was released in April, is signed to UMG’s Republic Records on the recorded music side of things.

Interestingly enough, according to Vivendi, Post Malone was the biggest revenue-earning artist across Universal’s global labels in the first six months of 2018 – ahead of (in order) Kendrick Lamar; Drake; Migos; and Imagine Dragons.

Music Business Worldwide

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