Warner Music Group's losses lessen

NEW YORK: Warner Music Group has announced financial results for the 10 month period ended 30 September 2004.

Revenue for the period was $2.5 billion, up two per cent from the 10 months ended 30 September 2003. Operating income increased to $7 million from a loss of $197 million in the prior year period. Net loss improved to $136 million in 2004 from a net loss of $239 million in 2003.

The company reported results for a 10 month transition period due to the change in 2004 of its fiscal year end from 30 November to 30 September. Meanwhile the company also announced that it is selling its sheet music and educational materials division to closely held Alfred Publishing so it can focus more on signing artists and songwriters. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Warner Music Group chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr. said, "Warner Music Group has continued to make significant progress on a number of fronts since our last earnings announcement. The financial results reflect the continued successful implementation of the restructuring plan and the total commitment of our colleagues in positioning Warner Music Group for success in a changing market. Now that the lion's share of the restructuring has been completed, we can turn our entire focus to building and developing the company's roster of recording artists and songwriters."

Worldwide recorded music revenue increased one percent versus the same 10 month period in the prior year to $2.06 billion. However when one takes favourable foreign exchange out of the equation, worldwide recorded music revenue decreased by approximately four per cent.

The results were driven primarily by lower sales volume attributable to the timing and number of new releases as compared with the prior year. Excluding favorable foreign exchange, international recorded music revenue declined five per cent. US recorded music revenue declined by approximately three per cent to $977 million. The company's major sellers this year included albums by Josh Groban, Green Day, Big & Rich, Twista, Jet and Michael Bublé.

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