RadioandMusic
| 10 Jul 2020
Universal Music Group's leading artists are the driving force behind Paris-based Vivendi

MUMBAI: According to the research from Universal Music Group, successful new releases by artists including Justin Bieber, Eminem and The Weekend supported growth in streaming and recorded music, which helped the company remain largely unaffected by entertainment industry declines caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week Vivendi, which centres around digital entertainment, reported an overall revenue increase of 11.9% to €3.870 billion. The French mass media conglomerate does not report results in U.S. dollars, however this translates to a 4.4% increase at constant currency and perimeter as compared to the same period last year. Vivendi’s music division, Universal Music, totaled revenue growth of 17.8% to €1.769 billion during the first quarter of 2020.This equals 12.7% growth at constant currency and perimeter.

"Each of Vivendi's businesses is closely monitoring the current and potential effects of this outbreak," reads Vivendi’s first quarter earnings statement. "At this point, it is impossible to determine with certainty how long it will last and how it will impact Vivendi's revenues and annual results."

According to Vivendi, the pandemic is considered to have had “limited impact” on the company’s consolidated revenues for the first quarter of 2020. The company’s second largest division, Canal Plus Group, experienced smaller growth. Driven by international business, the French TV channel and movie producer arm increased just 1% at constant currency and perimeter during the first quarter of 2020. During March, Vivendi’s Havas Group, Editis and Vivendi Village reported variable performance including declines in revenue.

While Vivendi predicts that revenues of Havas Group, Editis and Vivendi Village will be affected in the second quarter of 2020 as well, the company stands confident in the financial position and resilience of its main business. Subscription and streaming services as well as recorded music continued to grow with revenues jumping 16.5% to $985 million and 13% to $1.55 billion, respectively, in the first quarter.

Vivendi reports that it was subscription and streaming which drove publishing revenues up 18% to $294 million. Digital royalty claims accounted for almost 3% of growth in recorded music, however downloaded sales experienced a loss of more than 26% while album sales dropped 1.4% to $212 million.

Alanis Morissette, Alicia Keys, Dixie Chicks, Lady Gaga, Luke Bryan and many other big-name artists postponed planned album releases due to concerns about the pandemic. However, performers who successfully drop a new album this year will be helping keep the entire music community operative–and even profitable–during uncertain times.