Buckle up, guys. New York-based recording label Warner Music Group has released its financial reports for its first quarter (which ended December 31, 2021), and we had to sit down after reading those numbers.
Warner Music Group reported a whopping $1.614 billion in revenue last quarter, its highest earning quarter in nearly two decades.
“Achieving an all-time high in our 18 years as a stand-alone business is proof that we’ve never been stronger. At the same time, we’ve never had so many opportunities before us,” said Steve Cooper, CEO of Warner Music Group. “Our creative expertise, global agility and willingness to experiment sets us apart from the competition and reinforces our important role in the wider music ecosystem. In the coming year, we look forward to welcoming back huge superstars, bringing out new artists and songwriters, and looking for more innovative ways to bring more music to more people in more places.
Digital music accounted for the majority of this revenue increase, with popular artists Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Dua Lipa and Silk Sonic being among the label’s highest-earning artists. The vinyl is doing pretty well too.
WMG also touched on the latest industry news – the ever-changing story on Spotify and other streaming platforms.
“As partners and champions, we wanted to let you know about a pivotal fight that will determine what you do with streaming now and in years to come,” the label wrote in an open letter to songwriters.
“Many of you rely on songwriting as your main source of income, and we do everything in our power to achieve a positive result. Without songwriters, we would not have songs or streaming services – there would be no music activity at all. You deserve this pay rise and more,” they continued.
Read the full letter to WMG songwriters here.
Addressing a more specific topic within streaming platforms, Billboard reported Cooper’s response to the Joe Rogan/Spotify story. “Our first inclination is to always support our artists and it’s good to see that Spotify is responding to this issue to try and fix it,” Cooper said.
“But they are the ones who should be talking about their own position and their policies. Just to be clear: we do business with hundreds of streaming operations around the world. Not just traditional streamers, but these new emerging business platforms. We and our artists, in general, are very happy with these income streams, which are generated for the most part by consumption. And we at WMG continue to fight day and night for our artists and songwriters to ensure they are compensated for their work in the fairest way possible,” he said.
This year is already shaping up to be a wild ride for the music world, and we’re ready for more.
Photo by James Marcus Haney/Atlantic Records.