Warner Music Group Logs Smaller Loss on Falling Revenue

The Black Keys Dan Auerbach - P 2012
Chris Godley

The Black Keys Dan Auerbach - P 2012

Big sellers during the quarter include Bruno Mars, Skrillex, Ed Sheeran, The Black Keys and fun.

Warner Music Group, a private company that nevertheless reports financial results because of the large amount of publicly traded debt on its books, said Tuesday that quarterly revenue dropped 8 percent to $628 million.

The company, which Access Industries purchased a year ago for $3.3 billion, reported that it lost $36 million in its second fiscal quarter, an improvement over the $38 million loss it logged in the same quarter last year.

WMG blamed falling revenue on a "light release schedule" and contracting CD sales. Digital revenue, though, grew 7 percent to $235 million and "non-traditional" revenue, including merchandising and concert promotion was strong.

The company said digital revenue represented 37.4 percent of its total, up from 32.2 percent a year ago. 

Strength in Japan, Italy, Canada and parts of Asia were offset by weakness in the U.S. and most of Europe, WMG said.

Major revenue-generating artists during the quarter were Skrillex, The Black Keys, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran and fun., whose "We Are Young" became the first track to log 300,000 U.S. sales in the U.S. for six straight weeks.

WMG said it ended the quarter with a cash balance of $272 million and long-term debt of $2.2 billion.