Warner Music Group’s Digital Rhythm Is Slowing

Digital income is now only creeping up at Warner Music Group.

For its Q3 ending June 30, group digital revenue grew only two percent since last year, to $179 million, and is a tenth down on the preceding three months.

WMG blames “the timing of releases and the seasonal pattern of digital consumption”.

Indeed, the halo from Michael Buble’s well-selling album (oft cited by WMG in recent months) dimmed in a quarter that was light on big releases, and the quarter-on-quarter decline likely followed a quarter that included post-Christmas buying.

Q3’s net loss came in 48 percent worse from last year’s $37 million to $55 million, on 16 percent lower sales of $652 million, worse than analysts forecast.

Recorded Music (ie. music sales) down 18 percent: Digital sales up 3.7 percent from last year to 32.6 percent of all sales. But it’s thanks mainly to continuing overseas uptake. At home in the U.S., digital sales grew to 41.3 percent of income. U.S. digital download sales were up five percent from last year’s quarter – the same rate as the previous two quarters.

Music Publishing (ie. licensing) down 6.1 percent: Digital income fell from $16 million in last year’s quarter to $13 million, “primarily due to the timing of collections.”