Warner streaming revenue jumped 43% in 2017, as total recorded music sales topped $3bn

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Revenues at Warner Music Group’s labels grew 11.8% in the past calendar year to top $3bn for the first time since Len Blavatnik bought the company in 2011.

That’s according to MBW analysis of Warner’s recorded music performance in the Jan-Dec 2017 period.

Streaming jumped by a whopping 42.5% – or $428m – in the 12 months, up to $1.44bn, as total label revenues hit $3.13bn.

These figures are lent extra interest by MBW’s analysis of Sony Music’s equivalent figures on Friday (February 2).

In short, Warner – thanks to a stellar year from the likes of Ed Sheeran (pictured) – enjoyed the bigger revenue percentage growth of both companies.

That’s not to say Sony didn’t announce a strong set of results – more that Warner enjoyed something of a historic 12 months.

MBW’s calculation of Sony’s calendar 2017 shows streaming recorded music revenues were up by 33%  – or $407m – in calendar 2017, to $1.65bn.

The major’s overall recorded music revenues, meanwhile, grew by 5.9% to just over $3.8bn.

In real terms, Sony’s overall recorded music revenues moved up by $214m in 2017; Warner’s increased by $331m.

(Sony’s dollar figures were calculated in USD$ using the prevailing conversion rate from Japanese Yen in both 2016 and 2017; Warner’s results were announced in the root currency of USD$ each year.)


As for the rest of Warner’s 2017 recorded music figures, the company saw annual revenues from physical formats drop by 6% to $663m in the Jan-Dec period.

Download sales tumbled 23.1% at the major in the 12 months, down to just $336m. (This was pretty much in line with Sony’s calendar year download revenue fall, which stood at 22.6%.)

Streaming made up 46% of Warner’s total recorded music revenues in calendar 2017 – and that’s including ‘Artist Services’ and Licensing revenue (represented by ‘Other’ below).

Back in calendar 2016, streaming represented 36% of the firm’s overall recorded music revenue pie.

Physical’s share of sales in the same time period fell from 25% to 21%, while download dropped from 16% to 11%.


The reason MBW is able to make these calculations is because Warner announced its fiscal Q1 (calendar Q4) results on Friday.

They showed the Warner Music Group (including publishing and recorded music) posted over $1bn in a quarterly period for the first time in history.

Recorded music revenues contributed over $900m of the total, as you can see below, and were up some 31.8% from the $686m posted in the equivalent period of the prior year.

Within the same timeframe, streaming grew from $300m to $404m, a 34.7% jump.

Warner Music Group’s fiscal Q1 / calendar Q4 results – for the three months ended December 31 last year – showed total revenue up 14% (or 10.1% in constant currency) to $1.05bn.

Again, this includes both recorded music and publishing. (Look out for an in-depth look at Warner/Chappell’s calendar 2017 on MBW in the coming days.)

WMG’s operating income in fiscal Q1/calendar Q4 was $90 million compared to $94 million in the prior-year quarter.

OIBDA declined 1.3% to $155 million from $157 million in the prior-year quarter and OIBDA margin declined 2.3 percentage points to 14.8% from 17.1% in the prior-year quarter.

Net income was $5 million compared to net income of $24 million in the prior-year quarter.Music Business Worldwide

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