In the second quarter since all of Sony Music’s operations were united under CEO Rob Stringer, the company showed strong earnings, ending the calendar year with streaming revenues up 21% and overall revenue up 7.5% to $1.99 billion. Its profits for the quarter reached $333 million.
Driven by releases from Harry Styles, Lil Nas X, Travis Scott & Jackboys, Luke Combs, Camila Cabello and Khalid, the recorded-music division saw an 11% year-over-year jump to reach $1.16 billion, of which streaming represented $668 million — 58% of the operation’s revenue in the quarter. The division is led by Columbia, Epic, RCA and the recently relaunched Arista Records divisions.
Publishing was up 30.8% to $365 million, although that big number is due largely to the inclusion of all of EMI Music Publishing’s revenue; Sony’s consolidation of that publishing giant, which it acquired fully in late in 2018, had been gradual up to this quarter.
Sony’s visual media/platform, which primarily includes revenue from mobile video games and related music income streams, saw a 16.3% decline in revenue to $443.1 million from around $510 million.
The strong quarter is welcome news for the company, as its earnings report for the 2018 fiscal year (which ended on March 31) showed mixed results, with recorded music revenues dropping around 4.5% to $3.82 billion and overall revenue up just 1% to $7.2 billion, a dip the company attributed to lower physical sales, a change in accounting practices and other one-time items. However, operating income was up 82% to 232.5bn yen (2.8 billion).
Likewise, in that year-end report, streaming growth appeared to be leveling off, with a boost of just 15.3% over the 37% jump of the previous year.