In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching economic impact, Universal Music Group (UMG) revenue grew by almost four percent in 2020, due in large part to a double-digit uptick in streaming income. Total annual sales across all of its divisions (including publishing and recorded music) rose 4.7% YoY.
UMG’s revenues for the year grew by 3.8% to €7.43B ($8.40B) – or by 4.7% when calculated as ‘organic growth’. Within that, UMG’s recorded music revenues grew by 5.9% to €5.97B, although that increase was outgunned by a 12.7% rise in revenues for Universal’s music publishing business, to €1.19B.
No surprises in what’s driving the recordings growth: streaming and subscriptions revenues grew by 15.3% to €3.83B in 2020 for UMG, accounting for 64.2% of its overall recorded music revenues. Which, to use the now traditional industry publication metrics for all this, means that UMG averaged €10.5M a day in recorded-music streaming revenues last year.
This all suggests something very clearly: In the year before it goes public in Amsterdam, Universal splashed a whole lot of money locking in new deals with superstars, and buying up music catalogs.