Warner Music Group has announced its fiscal fourth quarter and full-year financial results for the period to September 30, 2021.
The major reported continued momentum across established and emerging streaming platforms, while artist services and physical revenue bounced back after the impact of Covid last year.
For the fiscal year, recorded music streaming revenue increased 24% year-on-year to $2.403 billion. In the fourth quarter, streaming revenue was up 22% to $639 million.
Total revenue increased 18.8% (15.4% in constant currency) to $5.3bn for the financial year. It was driven by strong digital revenue growth of 21.9% (19.1% in constant currency) across recorded music and publishing. Digital revenue represented 66.8% of total revenue, compared to 65.0% in the prior year.
“Music is essential to billions of people across the globe,” said Steve Cooper, CEO, Warner Music Group. “But now, more than ever, great talent needs help to cut through the noise. By delivering for new artists and songwriters, returning superstars, and global legends, we’ve also delivered outstanding results in 2021.
“Looking to 2022, we’re excited to release incredible new music from the world’s hottest artists and most influential songwriters. We’re also planning innovative moves and collaborations that will strengthen our leadership position across a vast universe of opportunities, in both the digital and physical worlds.”
For the 12-month period, recorded music revenue increased 19.3% (15.9% in constant currency) to $4.54bn. Digital revenue grew 20.9% (18.2% in constant currency) to $3.54bn due to the strong performance of new and prior year releases, as well as accelerated revenue growth from emerging streaming platforms such as Facebook, TikTok and Peloton.
We’re planning innovative moves and collaborations that will strengthen our leadership position
During 2020-21, recorded music physical revenue increased 26.5% (22.3% in constant currency) to $549m thanks to vinyl sales. Over the same period, artist services and expanded-rights revenue increased 14.1% (8.7% in constant currency) reflecting an increase in merchandising revenue, partially offset by the impact of Covid disruption on touring and live events.
Music publishing revenue increased 15.8% (12.6% in constant currency) to $761m for the 12 months compared to the prior year. The revenue increase was driven by growth in digital, sync and mechanical revenue, partially offset by a decline in performance revenue.
Operating income was $609m, compared to an operating loss of $229m in the prior year.
“Our strong fourth-quarter results put an exclamation point on an outstanding year,” said Lou Dickler, acting CFO, Warner Music Group. “Even as certain revenue was impacted by Covid, the strength and resilience of our music propelled us to double-digit revenue growth and margin expansion in 2021. As the possibilities for music continue to evolve, we remain focused on delivering shareholder value through our financially disciplined investment strategy and positioning ourselves for the next wave of growth.”