Warner's total revenue rose 1.7% to $829 million, or 6.6 percent in constant currency, in the quarter ended December 31st, a period in which Parlophone Label Group, acquired in July 2013, had been integrated for over a year. "I am pleased with these results. They underscore the success of our A&R activities, and the speed at which we are embracing new business models," said Stephen Cooper, Warner Music Group's CEO. He attributed the growth to big releases by Ed Sheeran (X), record-setting first-week sales by Pablo Alborán in Spain and noted numerous Top 10 albums in Belgium and Finland. Cooper also cited growing digital revenues, "groundbreaking partnerships" and entry into emerging markets.
"We know that the music industry will continue to evolve," Cooper said. "We are mindful of the ongoing macro trends, such as the decline in physical and download revenue, and the rapid rise of streaming."
Net loss in the quarter was $41 million, slightly worse than the $35 million net loss in the prior-year period. Operating income improved to $23 million from $15 million.
Warner Music Group's 2013 acquisition of PLG helped the company grow about 5 percent in its fiscal year ended September 30th. 5.2 percent to $3 billion. PLG was the key to growth. Excluding the PLG acquisition, Warner's recorded music revenue declined 5.3 percent. Now the quarter-over-quarter comparison shows how the combined company is performing.
The combined company showed improvement. Last quarter, recorded music revenue was even at $714 million. Digital revenue rose 6 percent. Domestic digital revenue was $132 million and accounted for 54.8% percent of total recorded music revenue.
Publishing revenue declined 7 percent to $119 million. A 14.3-percent increase in digital revenue helped offset by large declines in performance (-12 percent) and mechanical revenues (-14.8 percent). Sync revenue declined 3.8 percent.
Total digital revenue accounted for 36 percent of revenue in the quarter, up from 34 a year earlier.
Correction, 7:57 AM, Feb. 13: This article originally misstated some financial figures. We apologize for the error.