Blog Post

WMG Digital Revs Rose Weakly Amid Wider CD Sales Declines

Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) didn’t get much of a boost from the all-too-important holiday season last quarter. There were, of course, the inevitable shrinking of physical CD sales. And although digital’s share of revenues grew — in part because CD sales are less and less a part of the mix — the revenue growth both domestically and internationally appeared to be fairly anemic. All in all, WMG’s results were still not as bad as analysts had anticipated. More to come

Highlights from the quarter included:

— Total digital revenue was $187 million, or 24 percent of total revenue, up 2 percent, year-over-year. (WMG reports these results as fiscal Q1, not Q4)
— Sequentially, total digital dollars fell 5.1 percent from fiscal Q4.
— Revenue from the company’s Recorded Music business declined 14 percent
— Recorded Music digital revenue was $178 million and grew 3.5 percent YOY. It represented a 26.4 percent slice of total Recorded Music revenue pie, compared with 22 percent in the prior-year quarter.
— International Recorded Music digital revenue grew 12.3 percent o to $82 million, accounting for 19.7 percent of that segment’s total sales, compared with 14.6 percent during the same period last year.
— Although it didn’t spell it out, digital revenue growth was held down by mobile revenue declines, even internationally. That’s particularly troubling since music labels had been hoping the continued rise of smartphones would help provide a shot in the arm to the business.
— Another former strong segment, Music Publishing, saw revenue sink 14.9 percent during the quarter. Digital revenue from Music Publishing fell to $11 million, down 26.7 percent. The blame was pinned on the timing of “cash collections.”