Vivendi’s latest financial results reveal that Universal Music Group’s revenues grew by 12.7% to €1.77bn (around $1.95bn) in the first quarter of 2020.
Recorded music revenues were up by 13.1% to €1.43bn, with streaming accounting for €908m of that, after a 16.5% year-on-year rise. Streaming is thus now 63.4% of all UMG’s recorded music revenue. One very curious aspect: UMG’s ‘other digital sales’ – mainly a measure of download sales – grew by 31.3% to €137m, bucking the long-term decline in download sales (with the caveat that “Q1 20 includes the receipt of a digital royalty claim which was included in ‘other digital’ and accounted for just under 3pp of Recorded Music’s growth”).
Universal’s music publishing revenues grew by 20.4% to €271m, but its merchandising and other income shrank by 2% to €70m. Overall, Vivendi claimed that its Q1 revenues were “little affected by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic”. However, at the company’s shareholders meeting later in the day, Universal Music France boss Olivier Nusse warned that the pandemic “will certainly impact physical sales, and merchandising sales on tours and in stores” while adding that “streaming by subscription, which generates the largest portion of UMG revenues by far, is intrinsically more stable and robust… ad-funded streaming is likelier to be affected, along with the advertising market as a whole”.