Warner Music Group has released its results for the company's fiscal first quarter, which ended December 31, 2012. For the quarter, revenue fell by 0.8 percent to $769 million, down from $775 million a year earlier. However, revenue grew 0.3 percent in constant currency. Digital revenue was up 16 percent from $219 million to $255 million. Operating income grew by 31 percent to $51 million.
WMG notes that "Despite a difficult year-over-year comparison resulting from strong physical sales of Michael Bublé’s Christmas in the prior-year quarter, the company’s stable revenue results reflect solid digital revenue growth in both Recorded Music and Music Publishing, as well as growth in Recorded Music licensing revenue, offset by a decline in physical sales and non-digital Music Publishing revenue." Additionally, digital revenue represented 33.2 percent of total revenue for the quarter, compared to 28.3 percent a year ago.
WMG took an $80 million net loss in the quarter, which reflects the impact of an $83 million loss on the extinguishment of debt in connection with the company’s November 2012 refinancing of certain indebtedness.
Recorded music revenue was essentially flat in the quarter, at $657 million, with digital revenue up 16 percent to $237 million. Top sellers in Q1 included Led Zeppelin, Bruno Mars, Michael Bublé, Johnny Hallyday and the Génération Goldman tribute album. On the publishing side, revenue fell four percent to $116 million while digital revenue grew 27 percent to $19 million.
"We are pleased with the start we’ve had to our fiscal year," said WMG CEO Stephen Cooper. "We continue to make progress throughout our organization, while maintaining our focus on long-term artist development, innovation and growth and carefully managing costs."
"Digital revenue, OIBDA and OIBDA margin all showed solid growth," added EVP/CFO Brian Roberts. "Even with $132 million in cash outflows in the quarter associated with our refinancing, we had $189 million of cash on our balance sheet as of December 31, 2012."