WMG CEO Stephen Cooper’s final earnings call: Highlights – Billboard

Warner Music Group’s fourth-quarter double-digit revenue growth drove as CEO Stephen CooperCooper said on Tuesday, ‘long-term growth strategy, and a sign of more growth to come.

Former Chief Business Officer of YouTube, robert kinkleWill replace Cooper as WMG’s new CEO on January 1, although Kyncl will share top duties with Cooper for his first month.

Cooper’s 12-year tenure at WMG has been marked by digital streaming, major expansion into markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and taking the company public nearly two and a half years ago, among others. things.

“I’m very proud of the progress we’ve made over the last 10 years,” Cooper said on a call with analysts on Tuesday. “As I look to the next 10 years, I believe we are on the threshold of a new golden age of music. As the ecosystem becomes more complex and new business models emerge, the relationship between artists and fans Our role as connective tissue will only become more prominent and important.

WMG’s quarterly revenue grew 16% in constant currency to $1.5 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter ended September 30, driven by solid growth across all business segments, including jumps of 39% and 48% in digital and display revenue, respectively Is. Investors welcomed the news, pushing Warner’s stock up 15.2% to $31.08 as of 10:30 a.m. ET in New York.

Cooper said he sees the company’s future momentum coming from continued growth in the number and price of streaming subscriptions, deeper penetration into new emerging markets and greater investment in new digital technologies.

WMG now has partnerships with over 200 streaming services and operates in 70 countries around the world. While executives declined to say how much WMG could make from recent subscription price hikes by Apple Music and Deezer, they said they expect it to result in price hikes by other streaming companies.

“I’ve consistently told you that streaming revenue will continue to have significant runway, we’ll have value growth and continued subscriber growth, and emerging platforms will continue to expand,” Cooper said. “Now we’re seeing that all come to fruition.”

WMG’s annual revenue from the emerging streaming platform, including its recent deal with Meta, topped $370 million this quarter, Cooper said.

The big release in the fourth quarter was Lizzo, whose album Specific He was the first woman to hit No. 1. Billboard’s top album sales charts, as well as strong carry-over success from some of WMG’s superstars such as Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Silk Sonic.

The company’s pipeline remains strong, Cooper said, with releases from Paramore, Aya Nakamura, Cardi B, Roddy Rich and others expected in the first quarter.

However, Cooper said he expects the monetary impact of hit singles and albums to continue to decline in the coming years as the company works with talent in more geographic markets and diversifies its revenue streams.

“As we’ve broadened and deepened our artist roster and prioritized a global approach to homegrown music, our revenue structure has evolved,” Cooper said. “A decade ago, our top 5 artists generated over 15% of our recorded music physical and digital revenue. In 2022, they generated just over 5%.

A new geographic market where Cooper said WMG plans to expand is in Eastern Europe. In recent months, WMG invested in Polish concert and festival promoter BIG Idea, Serbian record company Mascom Records and participated in launching OUT OF ORDER, a new label for Eastern European artists.

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