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Tough Q4 For WMG

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Warner Music Group dished their fourth quarter and full-year financial results and it wasn't pretty, with the label group chalking up more than $46 million in net losses for the quarter.

For the full-year 2010, operating income at WMG was only $90 million compared to $135 million in fiscal year 2009. WMG attributed the losses to $54 million in severance charges related to the layoffs that took place throughout the company this year.

In detail:

Q4 revenue declined 13.3% to $752 million from $867 million in the prior-year quarter. This resulted from a 10% revenue decline internationally with evenue growth in the U.K. and Italy offset by losses in the U.S. and Japan. In the U.S., losses were sharp, with revenue down by 17.2%.

One bright spot was digital revenue, which was up by 7.1% over the same period in 2009 to $197 million and represented more than 26% of total revenue for the quarter. The growth in digital revenue reflected global growth in downloads due to a stronger release schedule, partially offset by continued declines in the domestic mobile business, primarily related to lower ringtone demand.

As of September 30, 2010, the company reported a cash balance of $439 million, total long-term debt of $1.95 billion.

"Our work to diversify revenue, and conservatively manage our costs, continues to help minimize the industry's ongoing recorded music pressures," said Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Warner Music Group's Chairman and CEO. "We generated strong yields on our artist investments, including our highest U.S. quarterly total album share in 14 years. Our digital and non-traditional revenue grew to a combined nearly 40% of total revenue in the quarter." – Ian Courtney