The world’s largest major label enjoyed a healthy 2018, with Universal Music’s revenues and operating profit both growing. UMG posted €6.02bn ($7.15bn) in revenues, up 6.2% year-on-year, while its operating income grew by 18.5% to €946m ($1.12bn) last year.
UMG’s recorded-music business saw its revenues grow by 5.9% to €4.83bn ($5.73bn) while its publishing business grew by 10.2% to €941bn ($1.12bn – a big milestone crossing the billion-dollar mark).
Within these results for recorded music, the trends were as expected: streaming revenues were up by 31.7% to €2.6bn ($3.08bn), now accounting for 53.8% of UMG’s overall recorded-music revenues. Physical sales fell by 17.9% while download sales dropped by 30.1%, but the growth in streaming comfortably made up for these declines.
This sentence in parent company Vivendi’s financials will undoubtedly spark debate within UMG’s rivals and the wider industry. “Globally, UMG had every one of the top five tracks, the top four artists and the top three albums on Spotify in 2018,” it reported. “Additionally, UMG artists occupied the top five positions and 14 of the top 20 positions on Apple Music’s Global Top 100 Songs 2018.”
The figures came as Vivendi confirmed that it will shortly be concluding its process of choosing investment banks to help it sell up to 50% of UMG to external investors. Tencent and Spotify are among the wildcard potential suitors that have been suggested as potentially interested, alongside more institutional investors.