Tool, Lil Nas X Drive Sony's Recorded Music Division to Another $1 Billion Quarter

Travis Shinn

Recorded music sales and publishing revenue at Sony Music both grew in the second quarter of 2019, according to the company's latest financial figures.

For the fiscal quarter ended September 30, Sony's music operations -- which includes Sony Music Entertainment, Sony/ATV Publishing, Sony Japan and the mobile-game dominated Visual Media/Platform -- reported 37.5 billion yen ($344 million) in operating income, a 19% rise on the same period the previous year.

Sales revenue rose by 8% to 219.3 billion yen ($2 billion), up from 203.9 billion yen ($1.9 billion) from the second quarter of 2018. 

Sony attributed the strong growth to a rise in streaming revenues, which lifted recorded music sales to 112.2 billion yen ($1 billion), up slightly from 111.9 billion yen ($1 billion) in Q1. 

Music publishing revenues climbed by more than 95% year-on-year to 38.4 billion yen ($362 million) as a result of the consolidation of EMI Music Publishing. 

In the first half of 2019, Sony Music operating income grew by more than 19% to 75.8 billion yen ($696 million), while sales totalled 421.5 billion yen ($3.87 billion), a rise of more than 9% on the first six months of 2018.   

It is, however, worth remembering that 2018's sales revenue were impacted by a change in accounting methodology, which is no longer a factor and contributes to this year's earnings bounce.

Breaking down recorded music revenue, physical sales were slightly down on the previous year, totaling 20.3 billion yen ($186 million), while download sales also fell by almost 10% to 8.8 billion yen ($80 million).   

Offsetting the decline, streaming sales grew to 66.8 billion yen ($613 million), a rise of just under 17% on the second quarter of 2018 (on a constant currency conversion basis).

License revenue from public performance, broadcast and sync, coupled with merchandising and live performance income generated an additional 16.2 billion yen ($149 million).  

Best-selling Sony Music Entertainment releases (albums and singles) during the accounting period (based on aggregation of revenue from albums and digital track exploitation) included Tool’s Fear Inoculum, Lil Nas X’s “Panini,” Chris Brown’s Indigo and Khalid’s Free Spirit.


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