Sony Music Entertainment (SME) generated about $2.59 billion (¥295.87 billion) during the fourth quarter of 2021, for a nearly 12 percent year-over-year increase, as heightened streaming earnings managed to offset an income decline across visual media and platform.
The Big Three record label’s Q4 2021 (and Q3 FY 2021) performance came to light in a newly published earnings breakdown for the overarching Sony Group Corporation, and below-disclosed figures reflect the JPY-USD conversion rate at the time of this piece’s writing.
As usual, the vast majority of SME’s revenue on the quarter derived from external customers as opposed to intersegment sales, and the label reported nine-month revenue (for the period ending on December 31st, 2021) of some $7.19 billion (¥822.36 billion) – a YoY gain of approximately $1.31 billion (¥149.91 billion).
Within Sony Music Entertainment’s Q4 2021 external-revenue total, recorded-music streaming income finished at $1.05 billion (¥119.51 billion), an increase of roughly $275 million (¥31.44 billion) from the same window in 2020.
Meanwhile, other recorded-music income came in at $562.14 million (¥64.28 billion) for SME during Q4 2021, against $453.88 million (¥51.90 billion) for Sony Music Publishing (up $60.39 million/¥6.91 billion YoY) and $495.74 million (¥56.68 billion) for visual media and platform (down $156.81 million/¥17.93 billion YoY).
The latter segment’s falloff was “primarily” responsible for a $34.26 million (¥3.96 billion) YoY dip in Sony Music operating income, which totaled $481.63 million (¥55.11 billion) during October, November, and December of 2021.
Digging into Sony Music Entertainment’s financial specifics from the nine months ending on December 31st, the previously noted gain of about $1.31 billion was fueled mainly by a recorded-music revenue hike in streaming ($2.98 billion/¥341.91 billion, up $927.39 million/¥106.12 billion YoY).
SME’s other operations (excepting visual media and platform) likewise achieved improved revenue during the nine-month stretch, including $1.28 billion/¥146.34 billion for music publishing (up $285.72 million/¥32.69 billion YoY) and $1.31 billion/¥150.07 billion for non-streaming recorded music (up $195.23 million/¥22.33 billion YoY).
Regarding the major label’s bestselling projects (by revenue) during Q4 2021, Adele’s much-streamed 30 led the pack, followed by Doja Cat’s Planet Her, Lil Nas X’s Montero, The Kid Laroi’s F*ck Love, Harry Styles’ perennially popular Fine Line, and Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas, respectively.
An update pertaining to the size of Sony Music Publishing’s catalog – which encompassed 4.53 million works as of March 31st, 2019, 4.86 million works at the same point in 2020, and 5.03 million works at the end of last March – will be included with SME’s upcoming Q4 FY 2021 earnings report.
Last month, Sony Music Entertainment bought Bob Dylan’s recorded catalog, and December saw the company purchase Bruce Springsteen’s song rights and launch a “boutique record label” with Abu Dhabi-headquartered streaming service Anghami.