Universal had posted an 8% rise in digital music income in the first quarter of this year (Q1 2015) to €459m. UMG said recorded music revenues grew 2.4% and the growth in subscription and streaming revenues more than offset a decline in both digital download sales and physical sales. Music publishing revenues (at UMPG) grew 3% (13% in actual terms) to €184m, also driven by ‘increasing subscription and streaming revenues’. UMG’s overall revenues – across recorded music, publishing, merchandise and more – were up 11.6% year-on-year in Q1 to €1.1bn.
Interestingly and given the news that Apple has allegedly been pushing the major labels to clamp down on 'freemium' streaming services - Warner Music Group’s CEO Stephen Cooper broke ranks with Sony and UMG to encourage the recorded music industry to exercise caution when it comes to dismissing the value of ad-funded music services saying "First of all, there are a lot of models out there, and all of those models — ad-based, subscription-based, or with both — are better than piracy" addng “You know to be crystal clear, piracy is zero revenue, it’s the theft of intellectual property, and it’s not good for anyone. So all of these models are better than piracy, that’s number one" and “Number two, the freemium models, if they encourage the adoption of subscribers… form ad-based [paths] to subscription-based models over time. We at Warner believe that’s good news". Cooper went on to say he would like to see the move from ad based streaming to subscriptions models to be 'turbo charged'.