The CEO continues to wheel and deal, setting up new joint-venture creative centers to fuel Sony’s market share
In a year when its two biggest competitors gained market share through EMI acquisitions, Sony Music Entertainment (SME) still managed to gain share the old-fashioned way: through organic growth.
“We had an extraordinary year,” chairman/CEO Doug Morris says. “Without buying anything we raised our market share.”
For the year ending Dec. 29, Sony’s share rose to 29.5%, up from 29.1%, according to Nielsen SoundScan. While Sony Corp. provides some music results, SME’s numbers are combined with Sony Music Japan and Sony/ATV. That unit’s revenue, according to Sony Corp.’s annual report for the year ending March 31, 2013, was basically flat.
Since joining SME in 2011 Morris has revamped senior management and changed the label’s corporate culture, with everyone working as a team instead of the Sony-BMG infighting that was occurring when he arrived. “I believe the culture is very important,” Morris says. “Other than getting the culture correct and the people right, the other challenge is getting hits, and last year we had a great year.”
Sony’s big albums in 2013 were the first volume of Justin Timberlake’s "The 20/20 Experience," which scanned 2.4 million units (according to Nielsen SoundScan), Beyoncé’s self-titled album (1.3 million), One Direction’s "Midnight Memories" (1.1 million), Daft Punk’s "Random Access Memories" (870,000), Kelly Clarkson’s "Wrapped in Red" (763,000) and Miley Cyrus’ "Bangerz" (745,000).
As for the industry’s challenges, Morris notes that the continued decline of physical is troubling, but adds that the “ascension of streaming services” is producing a lot of money. He’s betting that streams from Vevo and YouTube will replace the decline in other formats.
“We are beginning to see these various streams of income turning into a river,” he says. “There is huge consumer demand for our videoclips.”