Warner Music Group Corp. Reports Results for 2023’s Fourth Quarter, With Over $6 Billion in Annual Earnings

Warner Music Group Corp. Announces Fiscal Q4 and Full Year 2023 Earnings
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Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) today announced 4% YoY revenue growth for the twelve months ending September 30, 2023. Also announcing results for the fourth quarter of the company’s 2023 fiscal year, WMG noted a 5% revenue increase, with a 7% increase in digital revenue.

For the year ending September 30, 2023, WMG reports total revenue increased 4% in constant currency for a WMG record of $6 billion. Digital revenue rose by 5%, which ‘includes the impact in the prior year of $38 million in downloads and other digital revenue from the Copyright Settlement.’

The company reports $439 million in annual net income, after last year’s $555 million, and 2021’s $307 million.

There was a loss in net income, which Warner Music Group says is complicated: “The decreases in net income and Adjusted net income were primarily due to the unfavorable impact of exchange rates on the Company’s Euro-denominated debt, an increase in interest expense and loss on extinguishment of debt, partially offset by higher operating income in the year, a decrease in income tax expense in the year and higher realized and unrealized losses related to certain investments in the prior year,” the major label summarized.

Overall, total streaming revenue increased 6.7%, driven by an increase in recorded music and music publishing. With a lighter release schedule and the market-related slowdown in ad-supported revenue in the first half of the year, recorded music streaming revenue increased 3.9%, and music publishing streaming revenue increased by 22.6%.

According to WMG, revenue increases in the year were also driven by growth in recorded music revenue ($4,955 million) and total music publishing performance ($1,088 million). Significantly, total digital revenue for the year ending September 30, 2023, amounted to $3,989 million.

In the statement announcing the Q4 and annual 2023 earnings, Robert Kyncl, CEO of WMG said, “We delivered on our promise of second-half improvement, and reached over $6 billion ($6,037 million) in annual revenue for the first time in WMG’s history.”

The WMG boss added, “As the music ecosystem is recognizing the value of premium content and emerging markets continue to gain traction, our industry is healthy and growing. With these tailwinds at our back, we’ve been working hard to build a WMG that will excel in the music industry of tomorrow and look forward to bringing you incredible music in 2024 from our extraordinary artists and songwriters.”

Bryan Castellani, CFO of Warner Music Group believes WMG’s performance in the fourth quarter was underpinned by a solid release slate and momentum in our Recorded Music streaming growth. Castellani added, “This fueled our second-half improvement which, combined with our disciplined cost management, resulted in robust Adjusted OIBDA growth and margin expansion for the full year. We are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for WMG to capitalize on favorable industry trends and drive shareholder value through profitable growth and healthy cash flow conversion in 2024 and beyond.”

For the company’s Q3 that ended June 30, 2023, WMG had reported growth in music publishing underpinned by an accelerated digital revenue.

Moreover, the Big Three label’s revenue grew 10% in Q3 with 10% rise in digital revenue — compared to the current Q4’s 5% increase. With improved streaming growth in Q3, the company had expected the momentum to carry into Q4.

Ahead of the earnings report, the corporation’s Board of Directors also declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.17 per share to WMG’s Common Stock investors — up from $0.16 per share declared in the same quarter last year. The dividend is payable on December 1, 2023, to stockholders of record as of the close of business on November 21, 2023.