Universal Music Group has reached a new digital tipping point: in the third quarter of this year, streaming generated 51% of its recorded music business’ digital income, according to UMG’s latest financial results.
That means UMG has joined WMG, which reached a similar tipping point in its fiscal Q2 earlier this year. UMG’s revenues from streaming were up 33% year-on-year in the third quarter, compared to an 8% decline for download sales.
The financials – reported by parent company Vivendi – also revealed that UMG’s recorded music revenues were up 12.3% in the first nine months of 2015 to €2.75bn ($2.95bn), although at constant currency that’s a rise of 1.9%. Digital income was up 5.9% at constant currency, accounting for 50.1% of the group’s total – another digital tipping point of note.
It’s the streaming stat that’s likely to spark most discussion though, including the ongoing debate over how this new revenue stream is being shared with artists. Streaming is a key ingredient in UMG’s current growth, but like any major label, it’s facing questions about streaming payout splits and the division of advance payments and digital breakage.