Warner Music Group’s third-quarter earnings were revealed today (Aug. 4). The company reported mixed results due to the coronavirus pandemic, with digital revenue up 11% during the fiscal period ending June 30, representing 71% of total revenue, compared to 61% during the same time period in 2019. Growth was attributed to the increase of streaming during COVID.
Physical products saw a 5.7% decline . Also dipping were synch revenues attributable to a decrease in advertising and licensing fees as a result of the COVID “disruption.” Publishing earnings, however, ticked up 1.4%.
Said WMG CEO Steve Cooper: “We’re very pleased with our performance this quarter, especially in light of the global pandemic. Our results highlight the underlying strength and resilience of our business. Streaming revenue grew double digits and our digital transformation continues.”
The company notes that four out of the five top sellers for the quarter — music by Dua Lipa, Roddy Ricch, Lil Uzi Vert, Tones And I and Ed Sheeran — were from artists releasing their first or second album.
“These results are slightly better than our expectations, given the sustained effect that COVID has had on certain aspects of our business,” added EVP and CFO Eric Levin. “That’s a testament to the incredible ability of our teams, our artists and our songwriters to pivot and adapt, and to keep the hits coming. We have a robust cash position and all the music and resources needed to come out the other side of this with our long-term prospects as strong as ever.”
Total revenue was down 4.5% to just over $1 billion. Warner Music Group stock, which trades on Nasdaq, finished the day down 3.31% to $28.95 per share.
Warner Music is home to legacy labels Atlantic, Elektra, Parlophone and Warner Records in addition to imprints including Big Beat, Nonesuch, Rhino, Roadrunner, Sire, Warner Classics, and Warner Music Nashville, among others. It also is the parent company to publishing company Warner Chappell Music, which works a catalog of more than one million copyrights.