Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Warner Music Earnings: Out of Tune

Warner Music Group has a mixed bag of results for Wall Street this morning: The music label posted revenue of $861 million, a bit higher than the $820 million analysts had expected. But even after factoring out one-time severance charges of $14 million, the company lost three cents a share, and the Street was assuming it would earn four or five cents a share.

The breakdown: The company did well overseas, where revenue jumped 17.8 percent after factoring out currency effects, and poorly in the U.S., where sales dropped by 7.4 percent. Digital, which grew by 11.5 percent (excluding FOREX), now makes up 21.4 percent of Warner’s (WMG) revenue.

Operating income dropped by 18 percent, to $54 million, but all of that decline stems from the severance charges. Factor those out and operating income would be up slightly to $68 million.

For years, the music industry has watched music sales drop while music publishing–money generated by the underlying compositions of songs–has increased. But this time around that’s not the case. Warner says recorded music sales were up 3.7 percent (net of currency changes) and that music publishing revenue was up 11.7 percent.

But all of the publishing increase stems from a one-time gain of $25 million “from an agreement reached by the U.S. recorded music and music publishing industries, which will result in the payment of mechanical royalties accrued in prior years by record companies.”


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