Warner Music Group's Quarterly Loss Narrows

The music major, which was recently taken private, benefited from a LimeWire settlement and releases from the likes of Cee Lo Green and Bruno Mars.

NEW YORK - Warner Music Group on Thursday reported a narrowed loss for its latest quarter.

The loss of $46 million for what is the company's fiscal third quarter, compared to a loss of $55 million in the year-ago period. A settlement with LimeWire boosted the latest figure by $12 million, while $5 million in costs related to a sale of the company and severance charges of $10 million were a drag on it.

Revenue at the music major, which was recently taken private by Len Blavatnik's Access Industries, rose 6 percent to $686 million. But assuming constant currencies, revenue declined 1 percent.

Top sellers in recorded music for the quarter included Bruno Mars, Superfly, Wiz Khalifa, Hugh Laurie and Cee Lo Green.

Digital revenue of $203 million amounted to 30 percent of total revenue. U.S. recorded music digital revenue grew to $108 million, or 47.6 percent of total domestic recorded music revenue, compared with 40.9 percent in the prior-year period

Said WMG CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr.: “We are approaching the point where the majority of our U.S. recorded music business will be digital while continuing to transform our approach to artist signings with more than 60% of the artists on our active global recorded music roster being signed to deals with a comprehensive suite of expanded rights.”

During a conference call on Thursday, Bronfman didn't discuss a potential combination of WMG and music peer EMI, which is in the process of being auctioned off. He did say though that he is "very pleased" with the recent U.S. launch of music streaming service Spotify and said the company should focus on encouraging its free users to sign up for its premium service to become profitable.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai