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Sony Music Rides Streaming, Harry Styles Debut for Double-Digit Q1 Gains

Sony Music is riding high on a combination of streaming and Styles, as in One Direction member Harry’s self-titled debut album, released in May.

The company’s just-released Q1 financial report for the three months ending in June shows an impressive 57% gain in operating income year over year.

Sony’s music operation reports $225.22 million in operating income (25.022 billion yen), an increase of 57.6%, on revenues of $1.52 billion (168.6 billion yen), an increase of 18.8%, when compared to the same period during its last fiscal year.

The quarter represents the overall music operation’s best first fiscal quarter since 2009, when the current financial configurations started.

The company attributed the increase to “higher sales in recorded music” (both streamed and physical, but not downloads) and from its visual media and platform operation, which included strong performances of its Fate/Grand Order mobile game.

Music publishing, which consists of Sony/ATV, Sony Japan publishing and its percentage of EMI Music Publishing, produced revenues of $151.7 million (16.86 billion yen), a 7.7% increase from last year. The combined Sony/ATV and EMI catalog has grown to 4.49 million songs, versus 4.21 million songs by the end of its prior fiscal year.

Streaming generated $346 million (38.44 billion yen), an increase of 25.4%, while physical sales grew to $301.8 million, up 16.2%. On the other hand, digital download revenue fell 22.1% to $116.5 million.

Other music revenue — including synchronization, merchandising and live music promotions — totaled $134 million (14.88 billion yen), a 15.1% increase.

Harry Styles, The Chainsmokers and Japanese act Nogizaka46 had the three best-selling albums during the quarter, with new and upcoming releases including albums from Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, Foster the People, French Montana, Kesha, LCD Soundsystem and Old Dominion.

Sony Corp. predicts its music operations will produce an operating income of $680 million (75 billion yen) on total revenue of $5.7 billion (630 billion yen) in its current fiscal year, ended March 31, 2018.


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