Adele boosts revenues for Sony Music as the major reports record streaming income in Q4

Adele boosts revenues for Sony Music as the major reports record streaming income in Q4

Sony Music has reported its fiscal third quarter results for 2021, a period which ended on December 31 (calendar Q4).

The Adele effect played its part in the recorded music results for the major, which is led by Rob Stringer. Based on pure sales, 30 was No.1 last year in the US based on just five weeks’ availability and top of the pile across all formats in the UK.

It was no surprise today that Sony confirmed that Adele’s 30 was the company’s biggest global seller of the quarter, which included the busy Q4 release period and gifting season. Adele has today confirmed an appearance at the BRITs next week.

Doja Cat’s Planet Her was in second place, followed by Lil Nas X’s Montero, The Kid Laroi’s F*ck Love and the streaming perennial, Harry Styles’ Fine Line.

Little Mix made No.10 in the Top 10 sellers for Sony globally, making it three UK acts among the top flight. Little Mix’s Between Us collection had UK sales of 85,476 during the quarter, and it has since gone gold with sales to date of 106,600 (Official Charts Company). The group’s Spotify monthly listeners are now at almost 23 million - an indication of their growing international audience.

In the major’s fiscal third quarter to December 31, recorded music revenue increased by 29.3% year-on-year to 183.79 billion yen (£1.19bn). 

Despite the Adele effect, overall physical sales were actually down 5.9% year-on-year (still a strong result in a declining market for physical music). Sales of 30 - a strong performer on CD and vinyl - will still have been a key component of Sony’s overall increased quarterly result. In the prior quarter, Sony Music physical sales were down 22.9% year-on-year. According to the latest results, the physical sales for the Q4 period and busy gifting season were up 63.1% compared to the previous quarter.

Streaming revenues hit a new quarterly high of 119.51bn yen (£771.4 million - or $1.05 billion), a year-on-year increase of 35.7%. It follows a strong fiscal Q2 streaming result three months ago. Sony has changed its measure of streaming revenue from a net basis to a gross basis, although that only takes around six percentage points off this latest quarter’s year-on-year increase.

Adele’s Easy On Me broke streaming records on Spotify and became the fastest-selling single of 2021 in the UK. 

While it’s not clear how much of Adele’s streaming label royalties for the period flowed through to the major’s bottom line by the end of the year, 30 was Sony’s best-selling music project in revenue terms. The album was released late in the year on November 19.

Sony Music confirmed releases in the next six months from 21 Savage, Black Eyed Peas, Camila Cabello, Future, Giveon, Jazmine Sullivan, Ozzy Osbourne, SZA and Three Days Grace.

Sony Music Publishing’s fiscal Q3 revenues increased by 15.3% year-on-year to 51.9 billion yen (£336m). The company now has 5.03 million songs in the owned and administered catalogue.

Click here to read more on Sony Music’s RCA label, which was No.1 in the UK in 2021 based on market share.


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