Euro sales up for Universal Music

Increased recorded music sales in France and U.K.

LONDON -- Universal Music Group has issued first quarter figures showing stable revenue, while noting that recorded music in the U.K. and France led a sales increase in Europe.

In Q1 2009, Universal Music Group had revenue totaling €1.026 billion ($1.39 billion), compared to €1.033 billion ($1.4 billion) in the same quarter last year, a decline of 0.7% or down 3.2% at constant currency rates.

In a statement as part of French parent group Vivendi's results, the stable revenue figure was attributed to "higher music publishing activity and increased recorded music sales in Europe, notably in France and in the United Kingdom."

Digital sales increased 27.2% to approximately 28% of record music sales in Q1, while artist services and merchandising activity was up by 9.3%. Major selling artists in the quarter include albums by U2, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Japan's Dreams Come True.

Universal Music Group EBITA was also stable at €110 million ($149.2 million) in Q1, compared to earnings of €111 million ($150.6 million) in the prior year quarter. EBITA declined 6.2% at constant currency rates, partly reflecting lower sales in North America.