In a case of smart re-branding done just as the record label ship continues sinking, Digital Music News reports that at an investor presentation given last week in London by Universal Music, the company "...emphasized several new revenue areas, including ringtones, paid downloads, subscriptions, advertising, and even fashion branding. In short, Universal will be diversifying and broadening away from a “record company” and into a “music entertainment company”. Pointing specifically to digital downloads, mobile-based formats, and subscriptions, the company traced a steep adoption increase. "Revenue from these businesses grew from essentially nothing in the first half of 2003 to over 100 million euros [$121.6 million] for the first half of 2005.."
Universal has also been "making some interesting new deals, including a partnership and investment stake in mobile entertainment upstart amp’d Mobile. In the presentation, UMG also outlined strategies to take advantage of new formats like podcasting, ad-supported audio and video sites, and peer-to-peer technologies."
With digital revenues still very small (a few % of total gross sales) this announcement may be early but at least Universal is trying to stay out front in a rapidly shifting marketplace.
For a PDF provided by Digital Music News of the full Universal Music presentation click here.