Major Labels

Major Labels Now Earn $1 Million Every Hour From Streaming

While there’s still some debate over whether streaming is profitable for artists, it seems pretty clear that the major labels are at least raking it in, with new data showing that company like Sony and Universal pulling in over $1 million an hour.

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

According to a new analysis of official fiscal numbers, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group, and Warner Music Group jointly generated $22.9m, on average, every 24 hours in 2019.

The streaming business is big business. That isn’t news, per se, but it is often hard to quantify what constitutes success on most streaming platforms. Some artists consider reaching one-million plays on any song a significant milestone. In contrast, others may see it as a disaster, and those varying perspectives make the entire world of streaming confusing to most consumers. What is, for lack of a better description, good?

Money is a different topic. Everyone agrees that making a million dollars in ant amount of time is a good thing, but making that much per hour? That’s practically unbelievable.

Our friends at MusicBusinessWorldwide have been analyzing the official fiscal numbers of major record labels, and in doing so, they stumbled across a fantastic data point. Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group, and Warner Music Group jointly generated $22.9m, on average, every 24 hours in 2019.

If we look at the last quarter of 2019, things get even crazier.

According to MBW’s number-crunching of corporately-reported recorded music numbers, Universal’s artists and labels generated $1.02bn from streaming in calendar Q4 2019; Sony’s generated $669m; and Warner’s generated $589m. In total, that meant the majors’ recorded music divisions collectively turned over $2.26bn from streaming in the fourth calendar quarter, which equates to $24.8m per day, or $1.03m every single hour.

Streaming revenue growth for Warner, Sony, and Universal year over year

Crazier still is the fact that these numbers are likely to continue growing in 2020. Growth in the streaming marketplace is slowing as the market saturates. Still, there remain many demographics and countries that streaming platforms are hoping to convert to subscribers in the years to come.

Where will it stop? More importantly, what will the artists making these numbers possible see from these massive revenue streams? We don’t have answers at this time, but we hope to have more information soon.

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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