Sony Music Generates Nearly $4 Billion in 2017, Streaming Up 32%

The Sony Corporation’s music operations reported a $350 million in operating income on revenues of $1.9 billion for the company’s fiscal third quarter, it announced early Friday morning.

Recorded music accounted for $1.14 billion, visual media & platform brought in $599 and Sony/ATV Music Publishing $162 million), accounting for double-digit growth in all three categories.

Streaming contributed 43%, with some $492m) coming from the format in the quarter, a 32.1% gain.

Top sellers included Pink’s “Beautiful Trauma,” Chris Brown’s “Heartbreak on a Full Moon” and Camila Cabello’s recently released “Camila.” Looking ahead, the company pumped up new albums from Justin Timberlake (out today), Lanco and Jack White as among its hot hopefuls for the current quarter.

Despite the strong results, many were stunned by the announcement that Sony Corp. chief Kaz Hirai, a strong proponent of the company’s entertainment properties, will hand the over the CEO reins to his top lieutenant as he transitions to a new role as chairman. Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony Corp.’s chief financial officer, who is much less experienced in the entertainment world, will take over as president-CEO as of April 1.

“As the company approaches a crucial juncture, when we will embark on a new mid-range plan, I consider this to be the ideal time to pass the baton of leadership to new management, for the future of Sony and also for myself to embark on a new chapter in my life,” Hirai said in a statement.

Hirai’s resignation means that Sony’s entertainment assets are losing possibly their loudest and most powerful advocate within the company, and raises questions about their future in an era where consolidation, often on a colossal scale, is the trend of the day. Under Hirai, Sony had made an overture for some of Fox’s assets before Disney produced a bigger bid; without him at the helm, the fate of Sony’s own content businesses is uncertain.

However, sources said Hirai has indicated to insiders he intends to remain involved with Sony’s U.S.-based entertainment businesses in his new chairman role.

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