Universal Music Group has reported its first full-year financial results as a standalone company following its IPO.
UMG successfully listed on Amsterdam’s Euronext exchange in September 2021.
The major generated revenue of €8.504 billion in the calendar year 2021, a year-on-year increase of 17% (all figures at constant currency).
During 2021, recorded music subscription and streaming revenue increased 19.8% year-on-year to €4.48 billion, with strong growth in both subscription and ad-supported streaming.
Overall recorded music revenue was up 16.9% year-on-year to €6.82bn. Music Publishing revenue was up 15% to €1.33bn
“Ad-supported streaming was particularly strong, due to the ongoing improvement in ad-based monetisation and new and enhanced deals in social media,” said UMG.
Physical revenue grew 21.2% to €1.12bn, driven by strong vinyl demand as well as growth in D2C sales.
Top sellers for the year included new releases from Olivia Rodrigo, BTS, Justin Bieber, Morgan Wallen, ABBA and Taylor Swift, as well as continued sales of The Weeknd and Billie Eilish.
Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2021 was €2.52 billion, an increase of 16% year-on-year. Recorded music subscription and streaming revenue grew 16.1% compared to Q4 2020, with a strong performance in both subscription and ad-supported streaming revenues. Physical revenue was up by 10.5% in the quarter.
Top sellers for Q4 included releases from ABBA, Taylor Swift, The Beatles, Drake and BTS.
We expect to further strengthen our position as the industry leader
Sir Lucian Grainge
Sir Lucian Grainge, UMG’s Chairman and CEO, said, "2021 was yet another historic year for UMG. We helped our artists achieve extraordinary success – including eight of the IFPI’s top 10 global artists of the year. In addition to strong performance in streaming, we drove new areas of opportunity for our artists – ranging from merchandise to brand management, sponsorship, ecommerce, and film & television. And we expanded our partner portfolio into emerging growth areas such as health and fitness, Web3 and social video.
“Our success in all these efforts showed in our financial performance – revenues increased by 17% on a constant currency basis, adjusted EBITDA margin expanded and free cash flow improved significantly.
“Going forward, we see the industry continuing to grow and – with our unique experience, our deep understanding of the business and the vast artist relationships and global creative networks – we expect to further strengthen our position as the industry leader as we continue to break new artists and build on our world-class catalogue.”
UMG has recently signed big catalogue deals with Sting and Neil Diamond, and it has further expanded digital partnerships including TikTok, Twitch and Snap.
Adjusted EBITDA increased 20.9% year-on-year in 2021 to €1.79bn.
“We are generating robust free cash flow even as we continue to opportunistically and selectively invest in artists and catalogues that will be additive to the long-term health of our business”, said Boyd Muir, EVP, CFO and president of operations for UMG. “Our core business is well positioned for a strong 2022, which aligns with the plan we have set to achieve our previously announced mid-term targets.”
Subject to shareholder approval, UMG will pay out €363 million to shareholders as a dividend (€0.20 per share). It would bring the total dividend for 2021 to €725 million, or €0.40 per share.