Warner Music Group’s global CEO of Recorded Music, Max Lousada, has hailed an “outstanding” year for his company in 2018 – stating that WMG labels grew their collective global market share more than their rivals at Sony or Universal for the third year in a row.
Lousada’s claim seems to be driven by new IFPI statistics, which certified this week’s news that The Greatest Showman was the world’s biggest-selling album of last year.
According to MBW analysis, Warner’s recorded music operation grew its revenues by 11.8% in 2018, up from $3.127bn in the prior year to $3.497bn. Universal’s annual label revenues jumped 11.7% (off a bigger base number), rising from $5.129bn to $5.731bn, while Sony’s numbers rose 1.7% to $3.915bn in a transitional year for the firm’s physical sales (which fell by $261m YoY).
The last quarter of 2018 (calendar Q4) was a particularly successful one for Warner, as it actually pipped Sony Music to the worldwide No.2 spot amongst the major labels.
Warner’s recorded music division posted $1.045bn in the quarter, with Sony Music, according to MBW’s calculations, posting $1.039bn. (It should be pointed out that, crucially, Warner’s Q4 revenues were boosted by $76m derived from its newly-acquired merch company EMP.)
In a memo sent to WMG employees worldwide today (March 14) and obtained by MBW, Lousada praised the performance of The Greatest Showman and other Warner standouts in 2018, including Johnny Hallyday’s Mon Pays C’est L’Amour (which had the biggest week-one in the history of the French charts), as well as China’s Tia Ray who claimed the No.7 slot on the IFPI’s 2018 global singles chart with Be Apart.
Lousada also applauded the continued success of hitmakers such as Ed Sheeran, Anne-Marie, Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Coldplay, and Ty Dolla $ign who, he said, “all had huge years”.
“Collectively, these individual accomplishments led to one outstanding stat – Warner Music saw the biggest market share gain of any major music company in 2018.”
Max Lousada, Warner Music Group
Added Lousada: “Collectively, these individual accomplishments led to one outstanding stat – Warner Music saw the biggest market share gain of any major music company in 2018.
“On top of that, this was the third year running we saw the biggest jump [of any major label group], and the fifth straight year we gained global share. While market share is just one metric, this is a strong signal that our commitment to creativity and innovation is paying off.”
Signing off, Lousada commented: “Above all, this year’s IFPI charts show that we defy expectations – irrespective of genre, geography or generation. Our artists are moving culture and you’re doing a brilliant job of amplifying their impact with fans across the world.
“What makes Warner distinctive is our ability to be powerful and original, global and local, major and independent, all at the same time. When we move as one company behind incredible music, we’re unbeatable.”Music Business Worldwide