Vivendi, the French media conglomerate, released its Q1 results earlier this week showing substantial revenue growth that, according to its official statement, has been “little affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Vivendi’s revenue growth for the first quarter is largely down to the growth of Universal Music Group (UMG), of which Vivendi is 90% owner.
UMG’s Q1 revenues were over $1.92 billion (€1.77 billion), a significant increase of 12.7% on a constant currency basis compared to the same period in 2019. This increase in revenues was reported across all UMG divisions, and compared to Q1 2019:
- subscription and streaming revenues (via platforms such as Spotify, Tidal and Deezer) increased by 16.5%;
- other digital sales (which refers mainly to digital downloads) revenues increased by 25.4%; and
- music publishing revenues increased by 17.7% (also driven by increased subscription and streaming revenues).
The exceptions to the growth were revenues from merchandising and physical recorded music sales divisions, which reported decreases of 4.9% and 1.4% respectively.
With the current Covid-19 global lockdown, it is no surprise that sales of physical products are suffering, while sales of digital formats and income from music streaming are up.
This increase in digital revenues is positive news for the music industry. However, given the increased importance of digital sales, it is vital that the industry ensures that piracy prevention measures are in place across the board, and access to official digital products is smooth and simple, so that the industry receives the full benefit of increased digital sales through legitimate channels.
It is also essential for record labels to ensure any licensing issues preventing their artists’ music being available on streaming platforms are resolved, to ensure that they can benefit from the surge in the use of and subscription to these services.