Streaming revenue higher than download revenue for first time

Warner Music Group has reported total revenue grew 4 per cent year-on-year or 13 per cent on a constant-currency basis (adjusted to allow for fluctuations in foreign currencies), and it was streaming music and also, somewhat surprisingly, physical media sales that helped boost the figures.

Stephen Cooper, Warner Music Group CEO, said: "Notably, in this quarter we saw continued growth in streaming revenue which surpassed download revenue for the first time in the history of our recorded music business."

These streaming gains "more than offset a decline in download revenue", according to Warner Music's financial statement. The company said it expects the decline in download revenue to be a continuing trend.

Overall digital revenue grew 0.7% (10% in constant currency), driven by that spike in streaming revenue, attributed to the likes of Pandora, Spotify and YouTube.

Interestingly, physical sales are also heading in the right direction, up 8% year-on-year in revenue terms, following the lead of vinyl sales in bucking the expected trend for physical music.

MORE: Vinyl sales hit 20-year high

Strong physical revenue growth was said to be driven by strong performance of "physcially-centric release from key artists", such as those by Kid Rock, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, and by albums from local artists in territories such as France where revenue is still predominantly physical.

As a result, digital revenue represented just under 44% of total revenue compared to just over 45% in the prior-year quarter, despite growing year-on-year, due to the strength of the physical side of Warner Music's business.

This year-on-year growth in physical sales in Q2 2015 follows similar growth in Q1.

While digital revenues have overtaken physical sales, it seems physical formats are proving resilient.

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Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is the Content Director for What Hi-Fi? and Future’s Product Testing, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for almost 20 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).