Universal Music Group recorded revenue of €10.34b—about $11b—in 2022, a 21.6% increase over 2021.

Recorded Music pulled in €7.94b, a 16.3% rise over 2021, which included the impact of a legal settlement and DSP catch-up payment in 2021.

Streaming subscription revenue grew 18.4% year-over-year to €5.3b; the subscription portion pulled in €3.9b, with streaming amounting to €1.42b. Downloads and other digital revenue grew 4% to €337m.

Physical revenue of €1.2b represented a boost of nearly 8%. Licensing approached €1.1, a 19.6% spike.

Music Publishing was up 34.8% to €1.8b.

Said UMG Chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge: “Today’s report demonstrates that, once again, we continue to successfully manage the company for long-term growth while driving strong results in our core business—developing great artists and introducing their music to fans around the world. Our roster—which features four of the top five and 15 of the Top 20 IFPI Global Artists of the Year—once again achieved enormous commercial and creative success in markets around the world. We also worked to evolve and expand relationships with our existing DSP partners as well as establish new ones in fitness, health, gaming and the metaverse, driving the industry forward through leadership, creativity, innovation and collaboration.”

The fourth quarter of 2022 saw a 16.7% year-over-year increase to €2.94b, driven by growth in all segments and noteworthy strength in Music Publishing, which was up 30% to €530m. This was also the first time UMG has recorded more than €1b from streaming subscriptions in a single quarter.

UMG’s “engagement with technology is ensuring a healthy ecosystem,” Grainge told analysts on the conference call.

Highlights of the year included expanding relationships with long-term partners like Amazon (Twitch), Meta (Revenue Sharing) and Apple (Spatial Audio) and the use of technology to drive opportunities for catalog artists. Examples included the ABBA Voyage digital avatar concert, Elton John's Beyond the Yellow Brick Road experience on Roblox and the Spatial Audio release of The Beatles' Revolver.

Grainge again reiterated UMG’s approach to catalog acquisition and streaming; after noting that streaming has evolved in a way that undervalues artists, he said the company is “hard at work” creating artist-centric guiding principles and business models. He specifically mentioned Deezer as a partner. “It’s too early to share the insights," he averred, "but I think we’re on a just and a good journey."

On the catalog front, Sir Lucian emphasized that UMG “is not in the passive-rights business” and that “we continue to use our cash wisely, focusing only on the greatest opportunities to accelerate our growth.”

He also emphatically noted that UMG stands out from many of the companies in the catalog acquisition business cannot adequately service a catalog to its full potential.

“There are many who claim they actively manage rights, but they do not,” Grainge said. “Why? Their lack of infrastructure, their lack of experience and expertise and even more critical, in many cases, their inability to acquire all of the rights necessary to actively manage anything.”

In other news, Lenny Beer's quest for a knighthood has brought much-need laughter to the United Kingdom.