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Sony Music Revenue Up 17% in Fiscal Year, Tops Guidance

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Led by SZA’s SOS, Travis Scott’s UTOPIA and growth in paid subscription streaming services, Sony Music revenue grew 16.9% to 1.59 trillion yen ($11.05 billion) in its fiscal year ended March 31, its parent company, Sony Corp., reported Tuesday, May 14.

Sony Music’s revenue topped guidance of 1.56-1.57 trillion yen given in Sony Corp’s previous quarterly earnings in February. Its adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization (AOIBDA) of 368.7 billion yen ($2.55 billion) also topped guidance of 350-360 billion yen.

The yen-denominated revenue figures were boosted by foreign exchange rates. Of Sony Music’s revenue gain, about 32%, or 76.5 billion yen ($529 million), came from foreign exchange. Both recorded music and music publishing divisions enjoyed higher revenue from streaming services and paid subscriptions — Spotify’s price increase in July 2023, and continued subscriber growth at all platforms, also provided a boost to recent earnings by Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group.

Recorded music revenue of 1.07 trillion yen ($7.39 billion) was up 20.4% from the prior year. While physical revenue dropped 7.4% to 101.3 billion yen ($701.7 million), streaming jumped 18.5% to 709.5 billion yen ($4.91 billion) and accounted for 66.5% of recorded music revenue, down from 67.7% in fiscal 2022. The “other” category, which includes merchandise, rose 59.8% to 221.4 billion yen ($1.53 billion). 

Other top releases for the fiscal year were Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti, Harry Styles’ Harry’s House, Miley Cyrus’s Endless Summer Vacation, Luke Combs’ Gettin’ Old, Peso Pluma’s Genesis, Doja Cat’s Scarlet, Rod Wave’s Nostalgia and Beyoncé’s Renaissance

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Music publishing full-year revenue rose 18.1% to 326.7 billion yen ($2.26 billion). Streaming revenue improved 21.1% to 185 billion yen ($1.28 billion) and accounted for 56.6% of publishing revenue, up from 55.2% in fiscal 2022.  

Visual media and platform revenue declined 0.4% to 202.1 billion yen ($1.4 billion). Within the segment, gaming revenue fell 9.5% to 98.2 billion yen ($680 million). 

Stray Kids’ “Social Path (feat. LiSA)” was the top music release for Sony Music Entertainment Japan for the full fiscal year. Other top releases in Japan were King Gnu’s The Greatest Unknown, SixTONES’ The Vibes and two releases by Nogizaka46: Monopoly and Ohitorisama Tengoku.

For the second straight quarter, Sony Music’s operating income of 301.7 billion yen was the largest of any Sony Corp. business and accounted for about a quarter of the parent company’s total operating income. Although Games & Network Services’ revenue of 4.26 trillion yen ($29.55 billion) was more than 2.5 times Sony Music’s revenue, it had operating income of 290.2 billion yen ($2 billion) – about 4% lower than Sony Music’s operating income. 

Even though Sony Corp.’s full-year revenue grew about 13% on a constant currency basis, the company is wary of uncertain business conditions and volatility. As such, Sony Music’s parent company is putting a greater focus on earnings, efficiency and business profitability. 

During the earnings call, Sony Corp.’s management discussed the company’s “mid-range plan” that includes a partial spin-off off its financial services division in Oct. 2025 and increasing focus on growth in its three entertainment segments — music, film and games and network services — and its imaging and sensing solutions business. The parent company aims to achieve an annual growth rate of 10% or more in these business segments.  

“In the music segment, we continue to aim to grow faster than the market by strengthening our efforts in emerging markets, increasing monetization opportunities for our music catalog, and incorporating adjacent businesses such as merchandising,” said Hiroki Totoki, president, COO and CFO. 

Looking ahead to the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2025, Sony Music expects 4% increases in both revenue and operating income.

Sony Music’s fiscal fourth quarter revenue climbed 23.5% to 422.2 billion yen ($2.85 billion). Recorded music revenue in the quarter rose 29.4% to 288 billion yen ($1.94 billion) due to 23.9% growth in streaming revenue and a 91.9% improvement in the “other” category. Music publishing revenue grew 25.5% to 82.9 billion yen ($558.6 billion). Visual media and platform revenue dropped 3.8% to 51.4 billion yen ($346.6 million) due to a 22.2% decline in gaming revenue. 

Both SOS and UTOPIA were also Sony Music’s top two albums in the fiscal fourth quarter as well as the full year. Other top albums in the quarter were 21 Savage’s American Dream, Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter, Bad Bunny’s nadie sabe lo que va a pasar mañana, Peso Pluma’s Genesis, Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti, Tate McRae’s Think Later, Justin Timberlake’s Everything I Thought It Was and Harry Styles’ Harry’s House

Glenn Peoples
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