Streaming still growing strongly for Universal Music


Vivendi’s latest quarterly financial results provide more data on the growth of streaming income for Universal Music Group, continuing the group’s key trend of 2016.

Overall, UMG’s revenues for the first nine months of 2016 rose 3.8% year-on-year to €3.62bn ($3.96bn), including rises of 2.9% for recorded music, 4.1% for publishing and 8.9% for merchandising and ‘other’ income – including brand deals, which has been a big growth area for Universal.

Well-known trends within the recorded-music business continued: subscription and streaming revenue grew by 64% in the first three quarters of this year, while download revenues fell by 29%

Over that first nine months of 2016, subscription and streaming accounted for 65% of Universal’s digital revenues. UMG has generated more than €1bn of streaming and subscription revenues in that period, compared to €547m of non-streaming digital income and €751m of physical sales.

Global splits for overall recorded-music revenues aren’t shifting much: 35% from Europe, 44% from North America, 13% from Asia and 8% from the rest of the world in the first three quarters – up a percentage point in the latter two categories and down two in Europe.

Vivendi noted that UMG has now licensed more than 400 digital services around the world, but the group’s desire to double down on growth outside North America, Europe and Asia is well known. New opportunities in China, Russia, Brazil and Africa were mentioned in Vivendi’s financials release, specifying that “UMG is working closely with Vivendi” in those territories.

One of those opportunities is WatchMusic, a music videos service that Vivendi launched in Brazil on 6 October. The service is a partnership with Brazilian telco Vivo, offering a mixture of music videos, documentaries and original content, and live-streams of gigs and festivals, with audio-only and offline-viewing options.

Vivendi is planning to launch WatchMusic elsewhere in Latin America and beyond in the coming months.

Written by: Stuart Dredge