Warner Music Group announced its latest quarterly financial results last night, including results for its last financial year. In the latter case, combined digital and physical recorded music revenues were up 3%, with a 7% decline in physical sales outweighed by a 15% increase in digital revenue – caveats here involve the impact of WMG’s acquisition of Parlophone, though. In its analyst call, WMG boss Steve Cooper said that the group’s download revenues were up 12% year-on-year, while streaming and subscription revenues rose 44%. Cooper criticised scaremongering reports about falling download sales in the US at the expense of streaming. “We see the acceleration in the growth of streaming and subscription services as a great opportunity for the music industry growth, not a cause for concern,” he said. “We believe that building scale in subscription services offers great value to the entire music industry ecosystem including artist, recorded music companies, music publishers and digital music services.” Cooper also talked conversion rates from free to paid for streaming services: “What we have seen is that, after certain amounts of time and based upon the friction levels between the free and subscription services, there is a fairly strong conversion rate within the first, as I would call, six to 12 months… I think that in the long-term based upon how these services scale and how they expand their ad revenue will ultimately, I hope, create for at least the industry some degree of indifference is to whether or not it is free… or whether or not it’s subscription.”

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