Major labels made $19m an hour from streaming in 2018


With all three major labels having published their financial results for the final quarter of 2018 – and thus for the year as a whole – we can get a picture of how their digital businesses grew.

MBW’s analysis claims that Universal, Sony and Warner generated $6.93bn of wholesale-revenue from streaming services last year, representing year-on-year growth of 30.8% – and around $19m an hour between the three of them that year. The analysis shows that Universal Music’s global streaming revenues grew by $864m in 2018, with Warner Music adding $396m and Sony Music $368m.

One of the points that Universal Music made in its results was that The Beatles ‘White Album’ was its fourth best-seller in 2018, and Midia Research has pulled out some useful thoughts on why streaming *wasn’t* the key for that success, on its blog.

“The Beatles did not get to be UMG’s fourth biggest seller through streams. Instead, it did so through physical sales,” it pointed out, noting that the 50th-anniversary reissue of the album was a ‘premium physical’ release, as well as being made available to stream and download.

“To generate $7.5 million of label revenue, UMG would need to sell just half a million copies of the $25 edition and only 75,000 of the Boxsets. To generate the same $7.5 million from streaming UMG would need to have 62.5 million people each streaming 15 tracks from the album,” pointed out Midia.

Stuart Dredge

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