Warner Music Is Now Making More Money From Streaming Than Any Other Source

Image courtesy of Jaap Joris

Streaming music, that once-reviled technology that had big record companies shaking in their boots, is turning into quite the industry darling. Warner Music Group has certainly changed its tune, announcing today that streaming music is now bringing in more revenue for the company than any other single source of recorded music.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Warner Music has already seen streaming music sales overtake digital downloads, as of last year. This new milestone is a big one, the company said, claiming it as an industry first.

“We are now the first major music company to report that streaming is the largest source of revenue in our recorded music business, surpassing our revenue from physical formats,” Stephen Cooper, Warner Music Group’s CEO said in a press release reporting results for its second fiscal quarter.

Warner’s streaming music revenue rose $72 million in the quarter, with half that coming from sales outside the U.S. Downloads declined by $17 million, and physical revenue dropped by $6 million. Recorded music sales are up in general, rising by 10% overall.

Warner and other music companies would like an even larger chunk of that streaming revenue, of course, and have been pushing services like YouTube to close the “value gap,” Billboard notes, which means the disparity between how fast streaming music is growing and ad-supported streaming revenue. The music industry has argued that protections called “safe harbors” make it possible for user-generated videos to monetize videos that aren’t posted by the copyright holders of that music.

Cooper touched on that issue during the earnings call, while not calling out YouTube specifically.

“We fully support this unified movement to clarify copyright legislation around so-called ‘safe harbors’ in order to create the conditions necessary for the improved monetization of music,” he said. “It is imperative that we ensure a fairer correlation between the massive consumption of music via services built around user-uploaded content and the value generated for artists, songwriters and rights holders.”