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Warner Music Group 2018 Revenue Tops $4B, Digital Up 20%

WmgWarner Music Group reported  2018 revenue of $4 billion as part a quarterly and year end financial report on Thursday. It marked a 15 year high for the world's third largest music group. Digital revenue for the full year grew 20.4% and is now three times physical revenue.

WMG Q4 and Full Year Ending September 30, 2018 Highlights

  • Total revenue for the full year grew 12.0% or 9.2% in constant currency
  • Digital revenue for the full year grew 20.4% or 18.5% in constant currency
  • Net income for the full year was $312 million versus $149 million in the prior year
  • OIBDA for the full year was $478 million versus $473 million in the prior year
  • Total revenue for the quarter grew 13.3% or 14.8% in constant currency
  • Digital revenue for the quarter grew 21.4% or 23.1% in constant currency
  • Net loss for the quarter was $13 million versus $38 million in the prior-year quarter
  • OIBDA for the quarter was $72 million versus $60 million in the prior-year quarter

“We’ve had another terrific year and revenue exceeded $4 billion for the first time in our fifteen-year history as a standalone company,” said Steve Cooper, Warner Music Group’s CEO.  “We continue to invest in our business for the benefit of our recording artists and songwriters and to fuel our long-term growth.” 

“The fact that we ended the year with over $500 million in cash, despite significant spend on A&R, marketing, M&A and dividends, is evidence of the underlying strength of our business,” added Eric Levin, Warner Music Group’s Executive Vice President and CFO.  “We’re on a great run and I’m looking forward to many more years of success.”

Recorded Music Revenue

For the year, recorded music revenue rose 11.3% (or 8.5% in constant currency).  Growth in digital, licensing and artist services and expanded-rights revenue was partially offset by a decline in physical revenue attributable to the ongoing shift to streaming.  Licensing revenue growth was due to increased synchronization activity, timing-related higher broadcast fee income and the impact of acquisitions.  Artist services and expanded-rights revenue increased due to currency fluctuations and higher merchandise revenue, which were partially offset by the impact of concert promotion divestitures and the timing of tours.  Recorded Music digital revenue grew 19.3% (or 17.3% in constant currency) and represented 60.1% of total Recorded Music revenue versus 56.0% in the prior year. 

Domestic Recorded Music digital revenue was $1.037 billion, or 71.0% of total domestic Recorded Music revenue, versus 67.2% in the prior year.  Major sellers included Ed Sheeran, The Greatest Showman soundtrack, Cardi B, Bruno Mars and Dua Lipa. 

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