In recent years, the music rights business has gotten used to the major music companies posting double-digit year-over-year growth in subscription streaming revenue every quarter that goes by.
Yesterday (July 27) that narrative changed somewhat as Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music rights company, released its financial results for the second quarter of 2022 (covering the three months to the end of June).
First the positive headlines: the company’s total revenues at UMG (from music recording, publishing and other activities) rose sharply 17.3% YoY at constant exchange rates during the quarter.
The key quarterly figures for UMG in Q2 were as follows:
- As previously mentioned, UMG’s overall company-wide sales increased 17.3% YoY with constant currency €2.535 billion (US$2.70 billion);
- UMG overall recorded Music revenue increased 9.0% YoY with constant currency €1.922 billion ($2.05 billion). Add “merch and others”. (€141m)this number is increasing €2.06 billion ($2.20 billion);
- And all the music from UMG publish revenue increased 50.6% YoY to 476 million euros ($507 million) – although this dramatic increase was partly due to the fact that UMG now records collecting society revenues differently than before.
Digging a little deeper into UMG’s Q2 numbers, streaming subscription revenue for its recorded music business grew by a single-digit percentage year over year:
- Recorded music from UMG subscription streaming Second quarter revenue increased 7.0% YoY with constant currency 966 million euros ($1.03 billion);
- UMG’s recorded music ad-supported/no subscription Q2 streaming revenue increased 15.6% YoY with constant currency 348 million euros ($371 million).
That 7.0% The increase in streaming revenue from recorded music subscriptions obviously looks a little lower than the kind of streaming growth numbers we’re used to from UMG.
There’s a caveat: In Q2 2021 (ie, the same quarter last year), UMG’s subscription streaming revenue received what the company calls a “one-time catch-up payment from a DSP” that amounted to this amount 41 million euros.
If that payment were discounted, UMG’s quarterly streaming revenue from pre-recorded music subscriptions would have grown in Q2 2022 164 million euros YoY.
From today’s perspective, including the “one-time catch-up”, UMG’s streaming revenue from pre-recorded music subscriptions was still positive in Q2 2022 123 million euros year-on-year.
It’s also worth noting another headline here: UMG’s pre-recorded music subscription revenue has been surpassed $1 billion in Q2 for only the second time in the company’s history, according to Universal’s reported (EUR) figures converted to USD at the European Central Bank’s average quarterly exchange rate.
(Below, MBW has mapped UMG’s reported quarterly streaming earnings into EUR and then converted each quarter to USD at the prevailing average rate – according to the ECB.)
It’s a basic math fact, of course, that as UMG’s quarterly subscription streaming revenue numbers climb, it’s getting harder and harder to stay in double digits year-over-year percentage Growth (ie, it’s much easier to show a high percentage growth when your “base” number is small; it’s much harder when that “base” number is large).
For example: UMG’s non-subscription revenue from recorded music has increased 15.6% YoY in the second quarter of 2022. But in real terms, that revenue had only increased by 69 million euros compared to the previous year.
As previously mentioned, UMG’s recorded music subscription revenue increased by a sounding smaller amount 7.0% YoY in Q2 2022. But in real terms, that revenue had actually increased by 123 million euros.
Or to put it another way, UMG’s subscription streaming business is growing in real terms at about twice the rate of its ad-financed streaming business.
But on the surface, on a percentage basis, the ad-supported business (+15.6% YoY) looks like it’s growing faster as it’s growing from a smaller base.
UMG’s subscription streaming revenue for the Half a year of the first half of 2022 contributed a 10.0% YoY Increase (compared to the corresponding six months of 2021) at constant exchange rates.
In the first quarter of 2022 alone, UMG a 13.4% YoY Increase in subscription streaming revenue.
Elsewhere in UMG’s recorded music results for Q2: The company’s physical revenues skyrocketed 17.4% YoY to 303 million euros (323 million dollars)while license revenue (including dubbing) increased by 6.3% YoY.
Universal’s top-selling artists for the second quarter of 2022 on the recorded music side were, in order of revenue generated: BTS, King & Prince, Rammstein, Olivia Rodrigo and INI.
UMG published its EBITDA figures for the half year to the end of June as part of its most recent results (see above).
These numbers show that UMG’s corporate-wide EBITDA was for the six-month period 960 million euros ($1.05 billion)which corresponds to a margin of 20.3%.
The company’s Adjusted EBITDA for H1 2022 weighed in 962 million euroswhich also corresponds to a margin of 20.3%.
All references to YoY percentages in this story, whether or not indicated as such, are in constant currency. All EUR-USD conversions at the average rate for the relevant period according to the European Central Bank.music business worldwide