Warner Music Group’s share price fell nearly 10% on Tuesday (May 9) following the release of the company’s second quarter earnings report, which showed that revenue from the recorded music division was effectively flat over last year ($1.143 billion vs. $1.147 billion in the year-ago quarter).
On Tuesday, Warner’s stock fell from $28.50 at the start of the day to $25.76 at the market’s close — a 9.58% drop.
This marks the second straight quarter of disappointing results in recorded music for Warner, the world’s third-largest label. Last quarter, revenue in the division fell 10.6%, or 5.6% in constant currency, on lower digital, physical and artist services and expanded rights revenue.
In the current quarter, streaming revenue was down 0.4% (or, in constant currency 2.2% higher) on fewer releases and a slowdown in ad-supported revenue due to macroeconomic uncertainty. By contrast, music publishing revenue grew 12% to $257 million, up from $230 million a year ago.
“While our publishing was best in class, we underperformed in recorded music,” said CEO Robert Kyncl on an earnings call Tuesday.
In attempts to bolster confidence, WMG executives on the call stressed that the company is already seeing improvement with the late-April releases of Jack Harlow’s Jackman., Tïesto’s Drive and Ed Sheeran’s Subtract, which was released earlier this month. CFO Eric Levin noted that the label’s release slate “was a little lighter in the first two quarters of the year and will be weighted to (the third quarter) and (the fourth quarter),” with upcoming releases expected from Dua Lipa‘s Barbie soundtrack, among others.
“We absolutely expect this to improve our results in recorded music streaming in the second half of the year,” Levin added.
Nonetheless, investors appear to be growing skittish over the lackluster performance. Tuesday’s closing price marked a sharp drop of nearly 20% of Warner’s stock over the past month, with the share price falling from $32.12 on April 10.