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WMG reports reduced losses

European sales, digital revenue boost growth

Warner Music Group reported narrower third-quarter losses thanks to growth in Europe and a 36% rise in digital revenue.

Total revenue for the period ended June 30 gained 5.5% to $848 million, though it fell 1.1% on a constant-currency basis. Net losses totaled $9 million, down from $17 million in the year-ago quarter.

The recorded music unit had flat operating income of $66 million on a 5% gain in revenue. The publishing side also had flat profits, though its revenue was up 7%.

Digital revenue, which keeps growing as the company (along with the entire music biz) steers away from physical consumer goods to downloads, now reps 23% of domestic recorded music revenue.

International recorded music revenue went up 19% to $367 million, though the increase was whittled to 5% after currency conversions.

Company chief exec Edgar Bronfman Jr. voiced a complaint during a conference call with analysts about the license fees paid to music companies by publishers of music-driven vidgames like “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero.”

“The amount being paid to the music industry, even though their games are entirely dependent on the content we own and control, is far too small,” Bronfman said.

Warner Music stock dropped 2% to close at $8.27.

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