HITS Daily Double


In his final conference call with investors, outgoing Warner Music Group CEO Steve Cooper shared his thoughts on the growth of Warner Music Group over his 11+ year run, noting a few standout moments.

Overall, Cooper said the key to WMG’s growth has been “a shift in our mindset, driven by evolution from an Anglo-American record company to a global entertainment platform. [We moved] from artist deals to an expanding suite of services. We built a foundation running Warner as one company, one team with a common set of goals. With my colleagues, I played a part in creating that mind shift. Adapt and adopt, adapt and adopt.”

The connective tissue in all the company’s moves, he said, “is raising the value of music.”

He focused on how WMG distinguished itself by creating new technology opportunities. “We’ve consistently been a first mover in investing across the digital landscape,” he said. “Our early embrace of streaming made us the first major to report it as our largest source of recorded-music revenue, back in 2016.

“Around that time, we also began our revenue-diversification efforts. Since then, we’ve partnered with nearly every major social platform, including Instagram, Facebook, Snap, Twitch, TikTok and most recently, Pinterest. In many cases, we were the first major to do so. These deals are empowering our artists to scale their communities, encouraging fans to share user-generated content, and delivering significant incremental value.

“We were also the first major to aggressively pursue opportunities in the metaverse. While our work in the Web3 space has accelerated over the last 12 months, our efforts started back in 2019, when we invested in leading blockchain company Dapper Labs.”

He also noted partnerships with Roblox, Fortnite and Wave and being the first major to build on virtual real estate, creating WMG LAND in The Sandbox.

“As I look out on the next 10 years, I believe we’re at the doorstep of a new golden age of music,” he noted. “As the ecosystem becomes more complex and exciting and new business models emerge, our role as the connective tissue between artists and fans will only become more prominent and important.”