HITS Daily Double


IS IT BULLETPROOF? That’s been the question bandied about with respect to the recorded-music business over the past few years. This sector of the biz flourished—and, in fact, grew—amid the very pandemic that kneecapped the live business; it withstood inflation and supply-chain issues as well, having transitioned, over­whelmingly, to a distribution platform that does not require press­ing plants or trucks, shipping containers or shelf space. For now, the recorded business appears bulletproof… virtually.

IT’S SHOWTIME: With Sir Lucian Grainge’s UMG now enjoying a market cap of nearly $40b, double-digit Q1 growth across all segments and revenues up more than 20% year-over-year, the Big 3 continue to make the elite class of artists extremely rich, with deals in the hundreds of millions for those catalogs that are having huge streaming success now and are locked in for the projectable future—making these massive deals relatively risk-free.

Sony Music closed out fiscal 2021 on 3/31 with operating income up after a massive 29% spike in revenue fueled by significant boosts in streaming (+37%) and music publishing (+28%). For fiscal 2022, the forecast from Tokyo is for double-digit growth in music. WMG posted double-digit revenue growth in Q1 2022. Recorded-music revenue was up 8%, with digital accounting for more than two-thirds of revenue for the quarter. Publishing and artists-services revenue were both up nearly 20% as COVID offered fewer disruptions.