Warner Music Group Tops $1.25 Billion for the Quarter as Streaming Jumps 17%


Lizzo performs during Poptopia presented by 99.7 NOW, San Jose, Calif. on Dec. 5, 2019.

Warner Music Group just keeps chugging along, generating revenue of $1.256 billion during its first fiscal quarter, a 4% improvement on the corresponding period in the previous year. WMG also saw its net income jump 40%, from $86 million a year ago to $122 million in the quarter ending Dec. 31.

The company's recorded music operation again accounted for over a billion of that revenue tally, raking in $1.084 billion during the quarter, up 4% year-over-year. Publishing revenue came in at $173 million, a 5% increase.

Breaking out recorded music revenue by format, digital overall accounted for $633 million in revenue, an increase of 12.6% compared to previous year quarter. Of that, $589 million was from streaming and $44 million from downloads and other digital. Artist services revenue was $188 million, an increase of 13.25%, while licensing was down 2.5% to $79 million.

Stacked against the previous period, streaming revenue improved by 17.33% from the $502 million recorded this time last year, while downloads and other digital saw a 33.3% drop from $61 million.

Overall recorded music revenue was fueled by the performance of albums by TWICE, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Lizzo.

Operating income rose 12% to $165 million, while operating income before depreciation and amortization totaled $236 million, up 9.8% from $215 million the prior-year quarter.

Meanwhile, music publishing revenue grew 5% to $173 million from $165 million, though operating income dropped 36% to $14 million compared to $22 million in the prior-year quarter, driven by revenue mix, timing of A&R investment and higher overhead, the company said.

Breaking out publishing revenue, performance revenue totaled $46 million, a 13.21% decrease from the prior period when royalties from those rights produced $53 million. Meanwhile, digital increased 12.3% to $73 million from $65 million, synchronization rose by 24.14% to $36 million from $29 million, and other revenue held steady at $3 million. Mechanical revenue was also flat for the quarter at $15 million.

"Our Q1 results were very strong. We achieved the highest quarterly revenue in our sixteen-year history as a stand-alone company. We’re especially pleased with this result considering the strength of the prior-year quarter,” said Steve Cooper, Warner Music Group’s CEO. "The combination of our creative expertise, global expansion, commercial innovation and financial discipline makes us very confident about our long-term growth prospects.”