HITS Daily Double


Sony Music chieftain Rob Stringer emphasized diversification in terms of both streaming platforms and investment opportunities during a presentation to Sony Corp. investors at the parent company’s Tokyo headquarters earlier this week.

In his address, Stringer noted that the global streaming market ex-Japan was up 44% year-over-year in 2017, marking the third straight year of “meaningful market growth,” and he’s “very optimistic about our numbers for the next three years.”

Sony Music’s slice of the marketshare pie was a hair over 25% during its fiscal year ending 3/31. During fiscal 2017, he pointed out, Sony Music renewed its deals with Spotify, Apple, Amazon, YouTube and China’s Tencent, while striking a new agreement with Facebook.

“As we develop this growth together, it is vital that we maintain a balanced and mutually respectful relationship with our music distribution partners,” said Stringer, speaking in perfect Japanese. Just kidding about that last part. “We also support new entrants into the marketplace at the global, regional and local levels to drive this paid subscriber growth.” He added that “we actively encourage lots of platforms. We have to make sure we work with everybody in a way which encourages a competitive landscape.

“For instance, YouTube has just launched a subscription music service… We’re crossing each bridge as we come to it, but at the moment we feel we have a diverse landscape.”

Stringer also stressed the need for prudent use of the money pouring into the company coffers from the streaming explosion. “With our revenue increasing over the past three years,” he stated, “we’ve had more opportunity to be positive about the future of our business. If we stand still and just collect the money now, in three years’ time we’ll be in a very different place. All of our competitors, including the digital platforms, are investing in the music business. We are looking at any business opportunity that is complementary to our future strategy.”

He cited The Orchard, whose EBITDA has nearly doubled since Sony fully acquired three years ago for $200m, as a sterling example of investing wisely. The acquisition was made, Stringer explained, “to service a segment of the market that was looking for [partnership] outside of a traditional major music company… We bought The Orchard to help with marketshare – and everywhere The Orchard is now being built up, it’s helping with marketshare.”

During the presentation, Stringer was joined by his COO, Kevin Kelleher, who also had some interesting things to say. For more in-depth coverage, head over to MBW for Tim Ingham’s excellent recap.