Warner Music Group Corp. today announced its fourth-quarter, reporting growth in revenue but a net loss Q4.
“We’ve now had five consecutive years of global revenue growth in constant currency, and the last two were up double digits,” said Steve Cooper, Warner Music Group’s CEO. “Our momentum reflects the tremendous talent and appeal of our artists and songwriters, and the strength of our worldwide operating team. Investing to maintain our growth will remain a priority into 2018 and beyond.”
For Q4, Warner Music reported that revenue increased by 9% over the same period in 2016, with the strongest improvement in recorded music, artist services, and expanded-rights revenue as well as growth in Music Publishing-digital and performance revenue. However, they also reported, unsurprisingly, continued declines in revenue from physical recorded music, as well as music publishing sync revenue. Recorded Music licensing revenue and Music Publishing mechanical revenue was flat, the company reported.
Digital revenue was a bright spot for Warner, improving by 19.8% for the quarter and representing 53.5% of total revenue, compared to 48.8% in the prior-year quarter.
While revenue improved at Warner, profits slipped and the company reported a net loss of $38 million compared to a net loss of $3 million in the prior-year quarter and Adjusted net loss was $39 million compared to an Adjusted net loss of $2 million in the prior-year quarter.
WMG attributed the loss to “higher compensation”; associated losses in regards to WMG’s Euro-denominated debt; and costs associated with the company’s relocation of their U.S. Service Center to Nashville.
For the year, Warner reported that overall revenue increased 10.2% from the previous year, with improvements strongest in recorded music digital and artists services.
Domestic revenue rose 16.7% and international revenue rose 5.5% (or 7.8% in constant currency).
Operating income was $222 million up from $214 million in the prior year, while net income improved to $149 million compared to $30 million in the prior year.
“Our momentum is solid and sustainable,” said Eric Levin, Warner Music Group’s Executive Vice President and CFO. We continue to drive revenue growth, and turn it into cash, ending the year with $647 million on the balance sheet – the highest level ever in our history of being a standalone company.”