SEPTEMBER 6, 2015        BY

Universal Music Group took 42.7% of total revenues accrued by the major record companies in the first half of 2015,  MBW can reveal – slightly down year-on-year.

As explained in the below in-depth MBW analysis, the figure refers to the cash reported in home currencies by the recorded music divisions of UMG, Sony Music Entertainment (SME) and Warner Music Group (WMG) from Jan-June this year.

Across the entire corporate groups of the major trio – that’s including recorded music, music publishing and other operations – UMG claimed 41.2% of total revenue, with SME following on 36.6%.

And in terms of music publishing, Sony/ATV remained way out in front with 51.2% of income in H1 2015 – but year-on-year, UMPG nicked 0.9% from the market leader.

[The six-monthly income of UMG, SME and WMG are each reported to investors in different currencies: Euro (Universal), US $ (Warner) and Japanese Yen (Sony). MBW has converted the majors’ H1 revenue into each of these three currencies, allowing like-for-like numerical comparison. All three give the same market share results.]


It’s fair to say that a truly accurate juxtaposition between the corporate groups of UMG, SME and WMG is difficult as they’re very slightly different beasts: although they all have recorded music and publishing, for example, SME recently adding disc manufacturing to its bottom line.

Regardless, here’s how the six-month revenues of UMG, SME and WMG stacked up to the end of June 2015 (using current exchange rates). All inter-company transactions have been removed:

UMG: €2.311bn ($2.576bn / 306.423bn Yen)

SME: 272.062bn Yen ($2.287bn / €2.051bn)

WMG: $1.387bn (€1.244bn / 164.983bn Yen)

And here’s how that played out in terms of global market share:


The obvious next question: how did that compare to 2014?

According to MBW calculations using historic exchange rates from July 1st 2014, UMG’s share has been reduced slightly from 41.8% in H1 2014, while Sony and WMG’s have each grown slightly.

That’s despite Warner’s income actually dropping in dollar terms this year due to the unfavourable strength of the US currency.

– UMG: €2.003bn ($2.740bn; 278.164bn Yen)

– SME: 241.727bn Yen ($2.381bn; €1.741bn)

– WMG: $1.441bn (€1.053bn; 146.282bn Yen)


Things get even more interesting – and, helpfully, more directly comparable – when we dig down into the performance of UMG, SME and WMG’s recorded music and publishing operations.


Once again, here’s how the global six-month income of UMG, SME and WMG stacked up to the end of June 2015 (using current exchange rates) – but this time, only for their recorded music divisions.

– UMG: €1.848bn ($2.06bn; 245.032 Yen)

– SME: 190.643bn Yen (€1.438bn; $1.603bn)

– WMG: $1.156bn (€1.037bn; 137.506bn Yen)


The numbers and graphs below shows how that contrasts to the first six months of last year, with applied exchange rates taken from July 1, 2014.

As you can see, Universal’s recorded music H1 share – the % of actual cash coming into the major record business – has actually fallen slightly in 2015, by 1.4%, despite big rises in its revenues in real terms.

That share has been gobbled up by Sony’s recorded music team, boosted by the weakness of the Yen when converting foreign sales. Warner’s % has remained static.

– UMG: €1.604bn ($2.194bn; 222.722bn Yen)

– SME: 160.969bn Yen ($1.586bn; €1.159bn)

– WMG: $1.191bn (€870.5m; 120.903bn Yen)

Recorded 2014


When it comes to analysing the income of the three major music publishers, we must take heed of an interesting anomaly.

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) is fully owned by UMG, and Warner/Chappell is 100% owned by WMG.

Yet Sony Music Entertainment (SME) only controls half of Sony/ATV’s equity, with the other 50% owned by other parties.

As such, the revenue reported by SME needs to be doubled in order to reflect Sony/ATV’s true income – and its monetary market share.

So, with that in mind, here’s how the six-month revenues of UMG, SME and WMG stacked up to the end of June 2015 (using current exchange rates) – but only in terms of their music publishing divisions.

– UMG: €352m (46.672bn Yen; $392.37m)

– SME: 39.474bn Yen ($331.85m; €297.71m) [Sony/ATV: 78.948 Yen; $663.7m; €595.42m]

– WMG: $240m (€215.3m; 28.548bn Yen)


How does that equate to 2014?

According to MBW’s calculations, Sony/ATV lost 1.3% of share of H1 revenues year-on-year in 2015 – but maintained a huge lead over its rivals.

The biggest gain from this came at UMPG, which claimed 0.9% more global market share in Jody Gerson’s first six months in charge as its Chairman & CEO.

Once again, the below numbers and chart reflect Jan-June last year, with exchange rates taken from July 1, 2014.

– UMG: €307m ($419.98m; 42.634bn Yen)

– SME: 38.048bn Yen ($374.8m; €273.97m)

– WMG: $259m (€189.32m; 26.292bn Yen)


* A couple of important notes:

(i) The numbers in the pie charts above, to one decimal place, have been rounded up where appropriate – total sums won’t necessarily stop at 100%;

(ii) Obviously, these numbers simply reflect the amount of money reported by each of UMG, SME and WMG in the home currency of their investors. So, for example, Warner’s sales in Europe (€-$) would have been worth less-per-Euro in exchange than Universal’s (€-€) or Sony’s (€-Yen) due to the strength of the US dollar this year. Meanwhile, Universal saw 44% of its income arrive in the US in H1 2015, from which its investors would have enjoyed a direct $-€ benefit. The Yen is currently the weakest currency, which will boost the value of Sony’s US and EU sales. However, the numbers are a fair reflection of each company’s financial performance in cash-to-investor terms.

Music Business Worldwide