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Q2 STREAMING STAYS STRONG FOR UMG

Streaming saw another spike for Universal Music Group as Q2 was yet another billion-dollar earner for the crown jewel of the Vivendi empire. Streaming revenues were up 8.5% to $1.015b, a bright spot in the quarterly results as the coronavirus epidemic starts to show its effect.

Streaming now accounts for more than 65% of UMG’s revenues vs.60% in Q2 2019.

Music publishing was the other bright spot in the three months ended 6/30, rising 24.5% over Q2 2019 to $338m. Declines in digital and physical music sales, merch and licensing resulted in the division being down 4.5% in the quarter as revenues hit $1.45b.

For the first six months of the year, however, UMG continues to show growth. Overall revenues of $3.87b are up 6.2% with Recorded Music being up 6.7% to $3.1b.

During a call with analysts, Vivendi CFO Herve Philippe singled out The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, King & Prince and Eminem as the quarter’s major revenue generators. He also noted that streaming subscriptions have proven more stable that ad-supported platforms.

Noting they are "welcoming the good results of Warner Music Group's IPO," Philippe said they would consider offering an IPO for WMG sooner than early 2023 if the conditions are good. "Options are open," he said.

The company listed second-half releases from Bon Jovi, Carrie Underwood, The Killers, Luke Bryan, Metallica and Katy Perry as UMG’s most anticipated; there was no mention of Taylor Swift’s folklore in the report.

When asked about marketing challenges UMG faces due to the pandemic, CEO Arnaud De Puyfontane mentioned the recently struck deal with Spotify and the role UMG will play in helping the streaming service develop its marketing tools. “We like to position ourselves not only as the most creative music company, but also as a very marketing- and innovation-driven company,” he said.

With Tencent now owning 10% of the company, De Puyfontane said “all the early developments are very encouraging.”

UMG’s revenue represents 45% of Vivendi’s $4.15b total, which was down 7.9% from Q2 of 2019.

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