UMG revenues up 13% in Q1, Vivendi monitoring Covid-19 impact

UMG revenues up 13% in Q1, Vivendi monitoring Covid-19 impact

Universal Music Group has reported a year-on-year revenue increase of 12.7% to €1.769 billion (£1.542bn) in Q1.

Recorded music revenues increase by 13.1% year-on-year to €1.432bn (£1.248bn). The increase was driven by growth in subscription and streaming revenues, which were up by 16.5% to €908m (£791.3m) on the prior year quarter. 

Download revenues of €137m (£119.4m) were down 26.1% on Q1 2019, while physical sales were down just 1.4% to €196m (£170.1m) year-on-year. Based on the organic revenue measure rather than constant currency, physical sales were actually up 1.4% year-on-year in Q1.

Recorded music best sellers for the first quarter of 2020 included new releases from King & Prince, Justin Bieber, Eminem and The Weeknd, as well as continued sales from 2019 releases by Billie Eilish and Post Malone.

Parent group Vivendi’s revenues for the first quarter of 2020 were little affected by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, though lockdowns had yet to arrive globally.

“Each of Vivendi’s businesses is closely monitoring the current and potential effects of this outbreak,” said the company. “At this point, it is impossible to determine with certainty how long it will last and how it will impact Vivendi’s revenues and annual results.”

Despite that warning, UMG was not among the Vivendi companies singled out as likely to see revenues hit by the pandemic. 

Music publishing revenues grew by 17.7% year-on-year to €271m (£236.3m), also driven by increased subscription and streaming revenues.

Merchandising and other revenues were down 4.9% compared to the first quarter of 2019, as lower touring activity was partly offset by growth in D2C (direct-to-consumer) revenues. 

Following the sale of a 10% stake in UMG to a consortium led by Tencent for €30bn (£26.2bn), Vivendi said the  gross cash position amounted to €4.8bn (£4.2bn) at that date. 

All figures are at constant currency and Vivendi’s ‘perimeter’ basis.

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