In addition, according to Vivendi's presentation to shareholders posted online, an initial public offering for Universal Music Group is “currently planned for early 2023 at the latest.” Last week, the Warner Music Group announced plans for an IPO of its own.
Universal's strong performance helped parent company Vivendi increase its revenues 5.6% in constant currency, to $17.2 billion (€15.9 billion), with adjusted net income up 50.5% to $1.8 billion (€1.7 billion) for 2019. Vivendi also owns French television company, as well as the Havas Group, Editis, Gameloft and more.
Within recorded music, streaming jumped 21.5% during the year to $3.604 billion (€3.325 billion). Perhaps the most surprising number was that physical music sales increased 3.1% to $1.09 billion (€1.01 billion), a marked change from years of decline in the format. Download sales continued their decline, down 23.2% to $464 million (€428 million), though the growth in physical offset the losses in digital sales, according to Vivendi's press release. Licensing increased to $943 million (€870 million).
Meanwhile, the company said that on the top five major platforms — Amazon, Apple, Deezer, Spotify and YouTube, alphabetically — it represented a different top artist: Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, J Balvin, Post Malone and Daddy Yankee.
Elsewhere, merchandise and other revenues increased 73.7% year over year to $530 million (€489 million), which the company attributed to a growth in touring and direct-to-consumer sales.
UMG's earnings before interest, taxes and amortization (EBITA) grew 22.3% to $1.22 million (€1.124 million) over 2018.
As for publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group broke the $1 billion milestone for a second straight year, thanks to increased subscription and streaming revenues. The $1.14 billion UMPG generated was logged before it was announced earlier this month that Taylor Swift had signed an exclusive global publishing pact with the company.
For the fourth quarter of 2019, UMG brought in $2.28 billion (€2.10 billion) in revenue, up from $2.06 billion (€1.90 billion) in the same period in 2018. Of that, recorded music accounted for $1.80 billion (€1.662 billion), with streaming and subscriptions making the lion’s share, at $998 million (€921 million), up 16.8% year over year. Physical sales actually dropped 14% during the quarter, to $371.8 million (€343 million), while digital sales slipped 17.8% to $117 million (€108 million).