Universal Music Group saw a 2.1 percent increase in revenue for the first nine months of 2012, compared to 2011. Revenue for the first three quarters of the year was $3.68 billion. However, revenue was down 3.4 percent at constant currency, though an 8.6 percent increase in digital sales and higher license income were "offset by falling demand for physical product." EBITA fell by 2.5 percent to approximately $302 million.
Notably, the gap between physical and digital sales has tightened in those nine months. CD sales were down by 14.2 percent to approximately $1.29 billion, but digital sales rose 8.6 percent and reached $1.16 billion.
Best selling releases for the first nine months of 2012 included new releases from Justin Bieber, Maroon 5 and Nicki Minaj, as well as new artists as Lana Del Rey, Carly Rae Jepsen and Gotye. Notable UMG releases for the fourth quarter include Taylor Swift, Rod Stewart, Rihanna, The Rolling Stones and Ne-Yo, among many others.
As for the recent deal to acquire EMI's recorded music division, the company noted, "As a result of this strategically-compelling transaction, UMG further strengthens its presence throughout the world, especially in the United States, Japan, and Germany - the top three leading international music markets. This acquisition also creates even more opportunities for new and established artists, while expanding UMG's presence on all of the major digital music platforms and services. Moreover, the sale process of certain EMI Recorded Music assets is underway and these divestments are generating robust interest. Team integration is also progressing according to plan. The objective of £100 million annual synergies has been maintained."
Overall, UMG parent company Vivendi saw its revenue down by 1.6 percent to $8.48 billion in the first nine months of the year. Adjusted net income fell 2.9 percent to $845 million, with EBITA down 7.3 percent to $1.77 billion.
In related news, Vivendi CFO Philippe Caprone spoke on the UMG-EMI deal yesterday, as well as the label's fiscal report. According to Musicweek, Caprone told investors, "Management focus is currently on EMI integration, which is moving ahead at full speed." He also noted that "The disposal of ... the EMI businesses which we'll had to divest, is underway and is fully on track. And we expect to be in a position to report good news in the coming months regarding this process."
Caprone added, "For music, we unfortunately have to report a relatively disappointing Q3. You remember that we had a brilliant Q1. We had an average Q2. And now we have a Q3 which is not looking as good. We are used, of course, to those roller coaster effects, which are mostly release calendar driven. The good news is that we expect a very strong Q4 on the back of a more promising release schedule."