Sony Music revenues were unchanged in fiscal quarter ended Sept. 30th, according to Sony Corporate earnings released Thursday. Although Sony's financial statements say Sony Music sales increased 15.9% from the prior-year period, sales were "essentially flat on a constant currency basis." Taking into account a reporting change, Sony's recorded music and music publishing divisions fared better than the entire music category.

Sony Posts $196 Million Quarterly Loss

Sales in Sony's music division rose to 115 billion yen ($1.17 billion) from 99.2 billion yen a year earlier and were up 2.7% from the prior quarter. Operating income rose 23.5% to 9.7 billion yen ($99 million) from the prior-year period but was down 10.2% from the previous quarter. Sony Corporate posted a net loss of $196 million.
The 15.9% sales gain came almost entirely from the depreciation of the yen against the U.S. dollar over the preceding 12 months. The exchange rate was roughly 98 yen to a dollar at the end of Sony's last quarter, about 25% higher than 78-to-one exchange rate a year earlier. (Sony Music Entertainment Japan aggregates its results in yen. Sony's other music divisions, Sony Music Entertainment and its share of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, aggregate results on a dollar basis. Sales reported in dollars must be converted to yen for financial reporting purposes.)
Sony's recorded music and publishing divisions fared better than these numbers might suggest. For the first time, Sony Music's results included the results of its Visual Media and Platform category, which includes the production and distribution of animated videos "and the solution offering for music and visual products," according to the earnings release. Visual Media and Platform, which accounted for about 15% of Sony Music revenues in the quarter, suffered a 10.8% decline in sales last quarter. Counting just the recorded music and publishing businesses, and excluding intracompany sales, Sony's music sales grew 22.9% to 96.3 billion yen ($982 million).