- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Universal Music Group has posted higher-fourth quarter revenues and adjusted earnings as the major label was lifted by the latest releases from Taylor Swift, Seventeen and Lil Baby.
The music major, led by chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge, saw overall revenues rise 16.7 percent to 2.94 billion euros ($3.14 billion) as streaming and subscription revenues rose year-over-year. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), a key metric for UMG, rose 23 percent to 620 million euros ($653 million), or 15 percent on constant currency rates.
UMG, which represents top artists like The Weeknd, Taylor Swift and Drake, saw recorded music revenues rise 13 percent to 2.23 billion euros ($2.46 billion), or 5.6 percent in constant currency rates. That offset downloads and other digital revenues falling 29 percent during the fourth quarter as the major labels continue to see reduced download sales due to new online platform competition.
The hold the major record labels like UMG had on streaming services has loosened as indie music creators increasingly get their wares on the platforms. “Consumer research indicates that music subscriptions continue to hold up very well in a challenging economic environment,” CEO Grainge told analysts during an afternoon conference call.
Higher music streaming platform prices recently secured, including from Apple Music and Amazon, have underpinned UMG subscription revenues. Grainge on the analyst call touted recent talks between the major label and music and video streaming platforms about evolving their business model — which includes key per-streaming royalties for artists and ensuring highly coveted playlist spots for major label superstars — to recover lost market share, and negotiating power, to indie creators.
“It’s too early to share the insights, but I think we’re on a just and a good journey,” he reported in response to a question about early learnings gleaned from those talks. UMG CFO Boyd Muir added: “We’re always looking to ensure that our artists are fairly compensated for the value of driving content on these platforms.”
UMG execs during the analyst call argued the company’s artist-centric model proposed to streamers and continuing online platform price increases would ensure higher subscription and streaming revenue growth in 2023 and beyond.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day