Warner Music Posts Strong Quarter as Streaming and Vinyl Soar

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Warner Music Group posted $1.34 billion in revenue for its fiscal third quarter ended June 30, the company announced on Tuesday, with a 32.7% year-over-year revenue boost and a 33% jump in streaming.

The company saw a 33.8% growth in recorded-music revenues over the same, pandemic-struck quarter last year, up to $1.15 billion from $861 million. Digital led the charge, up 28.9% to $928 million. And vinyl and other physical product sales were up to such a degree — 155%! — that it actually cut into digital’s percentage of recorded-music venues. Physical soared from $51 million in 2020 — again, hampered by the pandemic — to $130 million.

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In the first six months of 2021, 19.2 million vinyl albums were sold, according to MRC Data, up 108% from 2020 — although that number is skewed due to the pandemic. Still, in 2020, vinyl trumped annual revenue of CDs in the U.S. for the first time in 34 years, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

Warner singled out top sellers such as Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Ava Max and Masked Wolf.

Music publishing also saw a strong — 27% to $189 million. Artist services and expanded rights were up 7.3% to $133 million, and licensing climbed 32% to $74 million.

The company also pointed to revenue from Facebook, TikTok, and Peloton, which is up to around $235 million, as well as its owned media channels Uproxx, Songkick, IMGN, HipHopDX, and Cover Nation.

“We’re proud of everything we’ve accomplished during our first year as a publicly traded company,” WMG CEO Steve Cooper said in a statement. “During a very challenging time, we’ve focused on investing in our core business and building an array of innovative growth opportunities. Outstanding releases from our artists and songwriters, coupled with imaginative execution by our operators, delivered excellent results in the third quarter. We’re looking forward to wrapping up our fiscal year with a slate of great new releases from established and emerging stars.”

“The third quarter was highlighted by impressive streaming numbers, recovery in several areas that had been negatively impacted by COVID, and strong operating leverage that drove margin expansion,” WMG CFO Eric Levin said in a statement. “We continue to create value through our wide-ranging services to artists and songwriters, to drive shareholder return through our disciplined allocation of capital, and to deliver long-term growth through our digital-first approach to business.”

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