Warner Music Hits Revenue All-Time High & Writes Open Letter to Songwriters: “You Deserve This Pay Raise”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Buckle your seatbelts, folks. The New York-based recording label, Warner Music Group, has released its financial reports for its first quarter (which ended on December 31, 2021), and we had to sit down after reading these numbers.

Warner Music Group reported a whopping 1.614 billion dollars in revenue for this past quarter, its highest-earning quarter in almost two decades.

“Hitting an all-time high in our 18 years as a standalone company is proof that we’ve never been stronger. At the same time, we’ve never had so much opportunity ahead of us,” said Steve Cooper, CEO, Warner Music Group. “Our creative expertise, global agility, and willingness to experiment set us apart from the competition and solidify our important role across the entire music ecosystem. In the coming year, we look forward to welcoming back huge superstars, breaking new artists and songwriters, and seeking out more innovative ways to bring more music to more people in more places.”

Digital music accounted for a majority of this revenue increase with popular artists Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Dua Lipa, and Silk Sonic being some of the highest-earning artists for the label. Vinyl has been doing pretty well, too.

WMG also touched on the latest industry news—the ever-evolving story on Spotify and other streaming platforms.

“As your partners and your champions, we wanted to let you know about a crucial fight that will determine what you make from streaming both now and in the years to come,” the label wrote in an open letter to songwriters.

“Many of you rely on songwriting as your primary source of income, and we’re doing everything in our power to achieve a positive outcome. Without songwriters, we wouldn’t have songs or streaming services – there’d be no music business at all. You deserve this pay raise and more,” they continued.

Read the full letter to songwriters from WMG here.

Touching on a more specific topic within streaming platforms, Billboard reported Cooper’s response to the Joe Rogan/Spotify story. “Our first inclination is to always support our artists and it is good to see that Spotify is responding to this issue in an attempt to resolve it,” Cooper said.

“But they should be the ones that speak about their own position and their policies. Just to be crystal clear: we do business with hundreds of streaming operations around the world. Not only traditional streamers but these new emerging business platforms. We and our artists, broadly speaking, feel very good about those revenue streams that are generated many by a consumption basis. And we, WMG, continue to fight day and night for our artists and songwriters to ensure they are compensated for their work in as equitable fashion as possible,” he stated.

This year is already shaking out to be a wild ride for the music world, and we’re ready for more.


Photo by James Marcus Haney/Atlantic Records.

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