Monday, April 20, 2020

Universal’s streaming revenues topped $1bn in Q1, with total recorded music up 13.1% | Music Business Worldwide

Universal Music Group generated more than $2bn in the first three months of this year – with more than $1bn from streaming alone.

UMG saw its recorded music revenues grow 13.1% to €1.43bn ($1.63bn) at constant currency/perimeter in the three months to the end of March.

Streaming recorded music revenues in Q1 2020 hit €908m ($1.03bn) , up 16.5% year-on-year, equivalent to $11.3m per day, or $472,000 every hour.

In terms of Universal’s overall business – covering recorded music plus music publishing and merch – UMG saw revenues of €1.77bn ($2.01bn) in the first three months of this year. This figure was up 12.7% year-on-year at constant currency/perimeter.

The unaudited results were announced today (April 20) in an update from UMG parent Vivendi to investors.

Quarterly recorded music physical sales fell slightly YoY (-1.4%) to €196m ($223m), while licensing revenues rose 7.4% to €191m ($217m).

Universal’s publishing operation (at UMPG) posted revenues of €271m ($308m) in the quarter, up 17.7% YoY.

(All percentage figures written here at constant currency/perimeter.)

In a statement, Vivendi said: “Vivendi’s revenues for the first quarter of 2020 were little affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of which varied according to the Group’s businesses and the geographical regions in which it operates. A decline in revenues was recorded for certain business activities in March, notably by Havas Group, Editis and Vivendi Village, corresponding to the first effects of the COVID-19 crisis.”

In positive news for the whole industry, Vivendi’s decision not to single Universal Music Group out there suggests that, by and large, UMG’s results were comparatively unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Universal’s biggest selling artist worldwide in Q1 2020, in terms of recorded music revenue generated, was Japanese boyband King & Prince (pictured), followed by (in order) Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, Eminem and The Weeknd.

King & Prince’s Arashi was recently named by the IFPI as the biggest-selling album globally of 2019.

Vivendi did not announce an anticipated EBITA profit figure for the quarter.

Vivendi did, however, offered limited commentary today on the recent 10% acquisition of Universal by a consortium led by Tencent Holdings Ltd, as well as the planned IPO of at least a portion of UMG’s business.

Vivendi said: “Vivendi is very happy with the arrival of the Tencent-led consortium. It will enable UMG to further develop in the Asian market. Now that this very significant strategic transaction has been completed, Vivendi will pursue the possible sale of additional minority interests in UMG, assisted by several banks which it has mandated.

“An initial public offering is currently planned for early 2023 at the latest. Vivendi intends to use the proceeds from these different transactions for substantial share buyback operations and acquisitions.”Music Business Worldwide


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