Due to yet another strong showing from streaming, Warner Music Group (WMG) achieved a 20.9 percent year-over-year revenue improvement during 2021’s fourth quarter, including a 30.9 percent YoY boost in publishing income.
The Big Three record label revealed these and other noteworthy performance specifics in a newly released earnings report, covering October, November, and December of 2021 – the first quarter of Warner Music Group’s 2022 fiscal year.
Revenue totaled $1.61 billion during the three-month stretch, marking a 20.9 percent hike from Q4 2020, as mentioned at the outset. Within the figure, recorded music revenue touched $1.39 billion (up 19.4 percent YoY), and Warner Chappell publishing operations generated $229 million (up 30.9 percent YoY, as noted). A full 62.1 percent of WMG’s Q4 2021 revenue came from digital, compared to 61.8 percent in the prior-year quarter.
Digging into the recorded side, WMG’s digital revenue increased by 19.7 percent (totaling $870 million) during Q4 2021, whereas physical turned in a $21 million YoY jump of its own, at $195 million.
Warner Music Group attributed the digital-revenue gain – just $34 million came from downloads, with the remainder deriving from streaming – to “the strong performance of new and carryover releases, as well as revenue growth from emerging streaming platforms.”
By region, the U.S. produced $723 million of WMG’s Q4 2021 revenue – for $151 million growth from Q4 2020, including $127 million more for recorded music. International revenue, meanwhile, approached $892 million during 2021’s fourth quarter, against $764 million in Q4 2020 (encompassing $680 million from recorded music).
Lastly, regarding WMG’s recorded-music revenue across 2021’s latter three months, “artist services and expanded-rights” brought in $232 million (up $52 million YoY), “reflecting an increase in merchandising and concert promotion revenue,” compared to $89 million for licensing (up $9 million YoY).
Shifting to the major label’s publishing division, the previously disclosed $229 million that Warner Chappell pulled down includes $133 million from digital (up 34 percent YoY).
By segment, WMG’s Q4 2021 publishing showing consists of $38 million from performance (up $8 million YoY), $14 million from mechanical (up $3 million YoY), $42 million from sync (up $9 million YoY), and $2 million from “other.”
Finally, WMG’s Q4 2021 operating income finished at $239 million (up $43 million YoY), while net income improved from $99 million to $188 million. Despite the company’s beating earnings estimates, Warner Music Group stock (NASDAQ: WMG) was down about 8.4 percent from yesterday’s close at the time of this piece’s writing, for a per-share price of $37.14.
The figure represents a more than 16 percent decline during the last five trading days and is about 3.4 percent beneath WMG’s value one year ago; shares in late October of 2021 cracked a record high of $50.23 each before embarking on a gradual decline.