June 25, 2024

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Warner Music a Rare Bright Spot for Music Stocks This Week Thanks to Earnings Rebound

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Warner Music a Rare Bright Spot for Music Stocks This Week Thanks to Earnings Rebound

Warner Music Group’s share price didn’t improve much this week, but its 5.6% gain nevertheless led the 21 music stocks in the Billboard Global Music Index.

On Tuesday (Aug. 8), Warner Music Group (WMG) reported that its quarterly revenue increased 9% year over year in the fiscal quarter ended June 30. That was music to investors’ ears after WMG’s revenue grew just 1.7% in the previous quarter, but it wasn’t exactly a surprise: WMG executives had previously told investors that the company’s new release schedule was weighted in the back half of its fiscal year and that its financials would pick up accordingly. And a Billboard analysis of Luminate data found that the company’s U.S. market share had started to improve by early May.

Only four of the Billboard Global Music Index’s 21 stocks finished the week in positive territory. Sphere Entertainment Co., the company behind the state-of-the-art Las Vegas venue set to open in September, improved 5.5% to $39.77 and German promoter CTS Eventim gained 4.8% to 61.80 euros ($67.76). Elsewhere, Hipgnosis Songs Fund rose 3.9% to 79.8 pence ($1.01).

This was the third consecutive week the index declined in value after reaching an all-time high in the week ended July 21.

LiveOne shares dropped 4% this week despite the company raising guidance on its fiscal 2024 revenue and adjusted EBITDA. In the fiscal quarter ended June 30, the company — which is behind music streaming platform Slacker and podcast brand PodcastOne — posted revenue of $25.7 million, up 24% year over year, and adjusted EBITDA of $4.9 million, up 46% year over year.

iHeartMedia shares fell 24.9% to $3.38 this week after the company warned of continued softness in advertising. The U.S. radio giant posted second quarter revenue of $920 million, down 3.6% year over year. Other radio companies also declined. Cumulus Media fell 5.9% to $4.96, while Townsquare Media — not a member of the Billboard Global Music Index — fell 19.7% on Wednesday following the company’s second-quarter earnings results but recaptured some of the losses on Thursday and Friday to finish the week down 7.2% at $10.50.

French streaming company Deezer fell 9.4% to 2.12 euros ($2.32) this week and has lost 16% since reporting mid-year earnings on Aug. 3. The company lowered its forecast for full-year revenue growth slightly to a range of 7% to 10%, down from a more than 10% increase. Although the company’s decision to raise its price in 2022 helped its average revenue per user to increase 8.3%, its subscribers declined by 100,000 to 9.3 million from the prior-year period. 

In related news, Disney shares rose 4.9% after the company’s second quarter beat earnings expectations, even as it revealed that its Disney+ subscriber count fell 7.4% to 146.1 million in the second quarter. Starting in October, Disney will raise the prices for both ad-free and ad-supported tiers of Disney+ and Hulu by at least 20%. Following the price increases, ad-free Disney+ will cost $13.99 per month and ad-free Hulu will cost $17.99 per month.

Music services have been far more hesitant than streaming video-on-demand services to raise prices. Spotify just increased its individual plan price in the United States — by $1 to $10.99 — for the first time since launching in 2011. By contrast, Hulu last raised its prices in October 2022 and has increased its the price of its ad-free tier by 39% in less than a year.

Music stocks’ decline mirrored stocks’ broad declines this week. In the United States, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.3% and 1.9%, respectively. In the United Kingdom, the FTSE 100 was down 0.5%. South Korea’s KOSPI composite index declined 0.4%. News that the U.S. producer price index, a gauge of wholesale prices, rose 3% in July — the biggest one-month gain since January — was a factor in U.S. stock prices falling Friday.

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