Warner Music Group generated $4.01bn in revenues across its publishing and record companies in the 12 months to end of September.
The news came in WMG’s FY financial results today (December 20), which also showed that WMG’s net income in the year hit $312m, more than double the $149m net profit posted in the prior FY.
Across its FY 2018, Warner paid out $925m in special cash dividends to its stockholders – aka Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, which acquired WMG for $3.3bn in 2011. A dividend of $500m, included in the $925m total, was paid out in August.
“We’ve had another terrific year and revenue exceeded $4 billion for the first time in our fifteen-year history as a standalone company,” said Steve Cooper, Warner Music Group’s CEO (pictured).
“We continue to invest in our business for the benefit of our recording artists and songwriters and to fuel our long-term growth.”
WMG’s annual recorded Music revenue rose 11.3% (or 8.5% in constant currency) to $3.36bn.
Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music contributed $1.73bn of this money, up by $391m on FY 2017.
Major sellers in the year included Ed Sheeran, The Greatest Showman soundtrack, Cardi B, Bruno Mars and Dua Lipa.
Music publishing revenues at Warner/Chappell, meanwhile, hit $653m in FY 2018, up by $81 million on the prior year.
WMG-wide operating income was $217 million down from $222 million in the prior year and operating margin was 5.4% down from 6.2% in the prior year, driven by higher revenue which was more than offset by increased investment in A&R and marketing as well as higher SG&A expenses including for variable compensation, restructuring and facilities expenses related to Warner Bros’ Los Angeles office consolidation.
“The fact that we ended the year with over $500 million in cash, despite significant spend on A&R, marketing, M&A and dividends, is evidence of the underlying strength of our business,” added Eric Levin, Warner Music Group’s Executive Vice President and CFO.
“We’re on a great run and I’m looking forward to many more years of success.”
WMG’s full-year OIBDA was $478 million, up 1.1% from $473 million in the prior year. OIBDA margin declined 1.3 percentage points to 11.9% from 13.2% in the prior year due to the same factors that impacted operating income and operating margin.
Adjusted net income was $388 million compared to $162 million in the prior year, reflecting higher other income, largely related to the net gain on Warner’s Spotify share sale