Warner posts biggest revenues in over 14 years as Q3 streaming cash jumps 59%

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If you want to know how well streaming is treating the big players of the recorded music business, just ask Len Blavatnik.

Warner Music Group has just posted $917m in revenues for the three months ending June 30.

That represented the company’s biggest fiscal Q3 since before WMG was acquired by a group of investors led by Edgar Bronfman Jr for $2.6bn in late 2003.

Not only that: it was a whopping 41% up on the equivalent quarter in 2012 – Warner’s first full Q3 after Blavatnik’s Access Industries bought the firm for $3.3bn in 2011.

“Our artists and songwriters are creating great music and our team is outperforming in a growing industry.”

Steve Cooper, WMG

What’s more, this performance was actually slightly dragged down by currency rates: WMG revenues grew 13.1% year-on-year, or 15.5% at constant currency.

Total digital revenues were up 30% to $496m – claiming 54.1% of overall sales.

“Our momentum continues with our eighth consecutive quarter of revenue growth – the last seven of which were up double digits,” said Steve Cooper, Warner Music Group’s CEO.

“Our artists and songwriters are creating great music and our team is outperforming in a growing industry.”


The above figures contain both Warner’s recorded music and music publishing divisions.

The former – money generated solely by Warner’s record labels and artists – posted $770m in the three months to end of June this year.

That was also a historic 14-year best, up 15.6% year-on-year in constant currency (13.2% in real terms).

It represented an increase of no less than 49% on the $517m reported in fiscal Q3 of Len Blavatnik’s first year as owner (2012).

For comparison’s sake, Sony Music’s performance in the same quarter – as reported last week – stood at $899m, up 8.3% at US$ constant currency.

The reason for Warner’s growth in its Q3 was, predictably enough, streaming.

“The likes of Spotify generated $360m in  quarterly recorded music revenues, up 58.6% year-on-year.”

The likes of Spotify generated $360m in  quarterly recorded music revenues, up 58.6% year-on-year.

Quarterly digital download revenues fell 27% to $88m.

At $448m (+28% YoY), digital revenues made up 58% of all WMG’s recorded music revenues in the quarter.

Artist-wise, the company’s biggest sellers in the three months included Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Gorillaz (pictured), Clean Bandit and TWICE.

As for publishing, Warner/Chappell posted its best fiscal Q3 since 2009, with $150m in revenues.

That was up  11.9% year-on-year (or 14.5% in constant currency).


Warner Music Group’s overall operating income increased to $51 million, compared to $45 million in the prior-year quarter, as a result of its higher revenue.

“I’m proud of our team for delivering such strong results, particularly against difficult comparisons in the prior-year quarter,” added Eric Levin, Warner Music Group’s Executive Vice President and CFO.

“I’m confident that 2017 will be another strong year.”

Net income was $143 million, compared to a $7 million loss in the prior-year quarter, and Adjusted net income was $149 million, compared to a $16 million loss in the prior-year quarter.

“I’m proud of our team for delivering such strong results, particularly against difficult comparisons in the prior-year quarter.”

Eric Levin, WMG

OIBDA (Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization) declined 4.2% to $115 million from $120 million in the prior-year quarter and OIBDA margin declined 2.3% to 12.5% from 14.8% in the prior-year quarter.

The decline in OIBDA and OIBDA margin was primarily due to a one-time gain on PLG-related asset sales in the prior-year quarter and a one-time loss on PLG-related asset sales, higher variable compensation expense and higher A&R investment in the current quarter.

As of June 30, 2017, Warner reported a cash balance of $567 million, total debt of $2.797 billion and net debt (total long-term debt, which is net of deferred financing costs of $31 million, minus cash) of $2.230 billion.Music Business Worldwide

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  • The real question is how much did the artists make off the streaming royalties?

  • genuineinc

    SO …I assume that food budgets will re-appear in recording sessions now?

  • bea†

    Dey mothafuck all. Dey used to check Zebralution in 2007 where my label TONPROJEKTION was.
    We got our best results wit kobalt ltd.
    … not wit major

  • Tommy Nelson

    Well, maybe this can get artist development back and see some more “bands” integrated back into the charts.

  • Spotify lost money, Apple Music lost money, Google Music lost money, Amazon Music money, and 99% of artists and writers made no meaningful money. Just how long do you the think this Ponzi scheme can last? Who would invest in any in any of this? You would have to be completely insane…..