Recorded product sales up 17%.

Robust growth across all Sanctuary Group's key areas of business underpinned a 15% rise in first-half profits to £6.9 million ($12.6 million), the British independent music group reports today (June 7).

Revenues at the London-based group rose by 41% to £89 million ($163 million) in the six months ending March 31. At the same time, earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved by 18% to £10.6 million ($19.6 million).

Stock in afternoon trading on the London stock exchange was up 2% to 49.5p.

Sanctuary's recorded-music division registered a 17% growth in revenues during the period to £40.7 million ($75 million), despite a "slight erosion" in margins. Recorded-music EBITDA leapt 9% to £7.5 million ($13.5 million) thanks to a string of chart-topping releases. Highlights include U.K. No. 1 hits "Changes" by Kelly and Ozzy Osbourne and "Mad World" by Gary Jules. Music DVD releases "Bob Marley -- The Legend Live" and the Who's "The Kids Are Alright" each shifted more than 40,000 units.

Sanctuary also reports a rise in revenues from new licensing areas, such as synchronization and licensing content to legitimate download services. "These revenues are now meaningful and ... we believe that these areas will continue to grow and provide strong long-term revenue streams," executive chairman Andy Taylor says.

The company also saw strong gains in its merchandising, artist services and management businesses.

With Sanctuary-represented acts appearing at every major music festival across Europe this summer, Taylor is confident the company's live-music business will post full-year results "broadly similar" to its banner year in 2003.

"Traditionally, our stronger trading has been the second half of the financial year, when many tours and festivals and a greater number of key record releases take place," Taylor says. "We are confident that this pattern will be repeated and I look forward to reporting another successful full year in January 2005," he adds.

In a snapshot of the worldwide success of Morrissey's "You Are the Quarry," Sanctuary says the former Smiths frontman's first album release for the label has shifted more than 570,000 copies worldwide since its release last month.