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Warner Music Group Corp. Reports Results for the Second Quarter Ended March 31, 2021

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  • May 04, 2021
    Warner Music Group Corp. Reports Results for the Second Quarter Ended March 31, 2021

    WARNER MUSIC GROUP CORP. REPORTS RESULTS FOR THE SECOND QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 2021

    Financial Highlights:

    • Double-Digit Revenue Growth Highlighted by Strength across Recorded Music and Music Publishing
    • Recorded Music Streaming Revenue Grew 20% Driven by Chart-Topping New Music
    • Revenue Attributable to Emerging Streaming Platforms Continues to Show Accelerated Growth
    • Continued Margin Expansion and High Free Cash Flow Conversion

    For the three months ended March 31, 2021

    • Total revenue grew 17% or 13% in constant currency
    • Digital revenue grew 23% or 20% in constant currency
    • Net income was $117 million versus net loss of $74 million in the prior-year quarter
    • OIBDA increased to $228 million versus $12 million in the prior-year quarter
    • Adjusted OIBDA increased 21% to $255 million versus $210 million in the prior-year quarter
    • Adjusted EBITDA increased 25% to $268 million versus $214 million in the prior-year quarter

    NEW YORK, New York, May 4, 2021—Warner Music Group Corp. today announced its second-quarter financial results for the period ended March 31, 2021.

    "Following a strong first quarter, I’m happy to report that our momentum continued in Q2, and our business is stronger than ever. Despite the ongoing pandemic, we generated double-digit revenue growth in both Recorded Music and Music Publishing,” said Steve Cooper, CEO, Warner Music Group. “Our success was driven by chart-topping new releases from our incredible artists and songwriters, as well as bold and imaginative execution from our world-class operators. We’re excited about the rest of year, as we have a fantastic slate of new music coming from established superstars and emerging talent.”

    "In the second quarter, the continued strength of our core streaming business was bolstered by impressive growth in revenue from emerging streaming platforms, which drove healthy margins and free cash flow,” added Eric Levin, Executive Vice President and CFO, Warner Music Group. “We look forward to delivering long-term value as we continue to invest in culture-shifting talent, innovative technology, and dynamic new partnerships."

    Revenue was up 16.7% (or 12.8% in constant currency). Revenue increases in the quarter were driven by robust digital revenue growth across Recorded Music and Music Publishing, strong Recorded Music physical revenue performance, and an increase in Music Publishing synchronization revenue, which were partially offset by a decline in Recorded Music licensing revenue and Music Publishing performance and mechanical revenue. Recorded Music artist services and expanded-rights revenue increased 2.6% on an as-reported basis and decreased 3.3% in constant currency. Excluding artist services and expanded-rights revenue in Recorded Music and performance revenue in Music Publishing, the areas most affected by COVID, total revenue would have increased 19.9% (or 16.3% in constant currency). Digital revenue grew 23.0% (or 19.8% in constant currency), and represented 68.8% of total revenue, compared to 65.3% in the prior-year quarter.

    Operating income was $151 million compared to an operating loss of $49 million in the prior-year quarter. Net income was $117 million compared to a net loss of $74 million in the prior-year quarter. OIBDA was $228 million, an increase from $12 million in the prior-year quarter and OIBDA margin increased 17.1 percentage points to 18.2% from 1.1% in the prior-year quarter. The increase in operating income, net income, OIBDA and OIBDA margin was primarily due to strong operating performance, lower non-cash stock-based compensation and other related expenses in the quarter of $151 million and continued cost-management efforts.

    Adjusted operating income, Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted net income exclude costs related to non-cash stock-based compensation and other related expenses and restructuring and other transformation initiatives in both the quarter and the prior-year quarter. In the prior-year quarter, costs related to COVID and the Company's IPO are also excluded. Adjusted EBITDA excludes these items and includes expected savings resulting from transformation initiatives and the pro forma impact of specified transactions. See below for calculations and reconciliations of Adjusted operating income, Adjusted OIBDA, Adjusted net income and Adjusted EBITDA.

    Adjusted OIBDA increased 21.4% from $210 million to $255 million and Adjusted OIBDA margin increased 0.8 percentage points to 20.4% from 19.6% due to strong operating performance and margin improvement associated with revenue mix and continued cost-management efforts. Adjusted operating income increased 19.5% from $149 million to $178 million due to the same factors affecting Adjusted OIBDA, partially offset by higher depreciation and amortization expenses due to recent acquisitions and capital spending.

    Adjusted EBITDA increased 25.2% from $214 million to $268 million with Adjusted EBITDA margins improving 1.4 percentage points from 20.0% to 21.4%. The increase was largely due to the same factors affecting Adjusted OIBDA.

    Adjusted net income was $144 million compared to $124 million in the prior-year quarter.  Adjusted net income grew due to increases in adjusted operating income, the favorable impact of exchange rates on the Company’s external Euro-denominated debt and non-cash gains on certain investments and hedging activity, partially offset by higher income tax expense in the quarter compared to the prior-year quarter.

    Basic and Diluted earnings per share were $0.23 and $0.22 for the Class A and Class B shareholders, respectively, due to the net income attributable to the Company in the quarter of $117 million.

    As of March 31, 2021, the Company reported a cash balance of $588 million, total debt of $3.354 billion and net debt (defined as total long-term debt, net of deferred financing costs, minus cash and equivalents) of $2.766 billion.

    Cash provided by operating activities was $150 million compared to $86 million in the prior-year quarter.  The change was largely a result of strong operating performance, timing of working capital, including payments from certain digital service providers and timing of royalty payments. Free Cash Flow, as defined below, increased to $89 million from $67 million in the prior-year quarter largely due to an increase in operating cash flow, partially offset by increases in investment activity and capital spending.

    Recorded Music revenue was up 16.8% (or 12.9% in constant currency). The revenue increase was primarily due to the continuing growth in streaming revenue—which grew 23.2% (or 20.3% in constant currency) over the prior-year quarter— reflecting accelerated revenue growth in emerging streaming platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, and Peloton. The increase in digital revenue reflects continuing growth in streaming, the Company’s largest and fastest-growing source of revenue. Physical revenue also grew, increasing 25.5% (or 19.2% in constant currency) primarily due to an increasing demand for vinyl products as well as success from new releases including The Yellow Monkey in Japan, Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac. Artist services and expanded-rights revenue increased on an as-reported basis by 2.6% and decreased 3.3% in constant currency, reflecting the impact of COVID on concert touring and live events, partially offset by an increase in direct-to-consumer merchandising revenue. Licensing revenue was down mainly due to lower broadcast fees resulting from COVID, partially offset by higher synchronization activity. Major sellers included Dua Lipa, Michael Bublé, Ed Sheeran, Ava Max and The Yellow Monkey.

    Recorded Music operating income was $184 million, up from $36 million in the prior-year quarter and operating margin was up 13.4 percentage points to 17.4% versus 4.0% in the prior-year quarter. OIBDA increased to $235 million from $76 million in the prior-year quarter and OIBDA margin increased 13.8 percentage points to 22.2%. Adjusted OIBDA was $242 million versus $190 million in the prior-year quarter with Adjusted OIBDA margin up 2.0 percentage points to 22.9%. The increases in operating income and OIBDA were driven by increases in Adjusted OIBDA and a decrease in non-cash stock-based compensation and other related expenses. The increases in Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted OIBDA margin were primarily due to strong operating performance, overall cost savings, revenue mix and impact from recent acquisitions.

    Music Publishing revenue increased 15.7% (or 11.6% in constant currency). Digital and synchronization revenue growth was partially offset by declines in performance and mechanical revenue. Digital revenue increased 40.5% (or 33.3% in constant currency) reflecting the continuing growth in streaming and timing of new deals with digital service providers. Digital revenue represented 54.2% of total Music Publishing revenue versus 44.6% in the prior-year quarter.  Synchronization revenue increased due to growth in motion picture and commercial income. The decrease in performance revenue was primarily due to COVID. Mechanical revenue also decreased due to the continuing shift to streaming.

    Music Publishing operating income was $22 million, down 26.7% from $30 million in the prior-year quarter largely driven by revenue mix, higher employee costs and increases in amortization. Operating margin was 11.5%, down 6.6 percentage points from 18.1% in the prior-year quarter. Music Publishing OIBDA decreased 10.4% to $43 million, and Music Publishing OIBDA margin decreased 6.5 percentage points to 22.4%. Adjusted OIBDA decreased 6.1% to $46 million and Adjusted OIBDA margin decreased to 24.0% due to revenue mix and timing of a non-recurring benefit in the prior-year quarter.

    Financial details for the quarter can be found in the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2021, filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    This morning, management will be hosting a conference call to discuss the results at 8:30 A.M. EST. The call will be webcast on www.wmg.com.

    About Warner Music Group

    With a legacy extending back over 200 years, Warner Music Group today is home to an unparalleled family of creative artists, songwriters, and companies that are moving culture across the globe.  At the core of WMG's Recorded Music  division are four of the most iconic companies in history: Atlantic, Elektra, Parlophone and Warner Records. They are joined by renowned labels such as Asylum, Big Beat, Canvasback, East West, Erato, FFRR, Fueled by Ramen, Nonesuch, Reprise, Rhino, Roadrunner, Sire, Spinnin’ Records, Warner Classics and Warner Music Nashville. Warner Chappell Music - which traces its origins back to the founding of Chappell & Company in 1811 - is one of the world's leading music publishers, with a catalog of more than one million copyrights spanning every musical genre from the standards of the Great American Songbook to the biggest hits of the 21st century.

    "Safe Harbor" Statement under Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995

    This communication includes forward-looking statements that reflect the current views of Warner Music Group about future events and financial performance.  Words such as "estimates," "expects," "anticipates," "projects," "plans," "intends," "believes," "forecasts" and variations of such words or similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends, or that do not relate to historical matters, identify forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are made as of today, and we disclaim any duty to update such statements. Our expectations, beliefs and projections are expressed in good faith and we believe there is a reasonable basis for them. However, we cannot assure you that management's expectations, beliefs and projections will result or be achieved. Investors should not rely on forward-looking statements because they are subject to a variety of risks, uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations. Please refer to our Form 10-K, Form 10-Qs and our other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in our forward-looking statements.

    We maintain an Internet site at www.wmg.com. We use our website as a channel of distribution for material company information.  Financial and other material information regarding Warner Music Group is routinely posted on and accessible at http://investors.wmg.com. In addition, you may automatically receive email alerts and other information about Warner Music Group by enrolling your email address through the “email alerts” section at http://investors.wmg.com. Our website and the information posted on it or connected to it shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into this communication.

    Basis of Presentation

    The Company maintains a 52-53 week fiscal year ending on the last Friday in each reporting period. As such, all references to March 31, 2021 and March 31, 2020 relate to the periods ended March 26, 2021 and March 27, 2020, respectively. For convenience purposes, the Company continues to date its financial statements as of March 31.

    Supplemental Disclosures Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Measures

    We evaluate our operating performance based on several factors, including the following non-GAAP financial measures:

    OIBDA

    OIBDA reflects our operating income before non-cash depreciation of tangible assets and non-cash amortization of intangible assets. We consider OIBDA to be an important indicator of the operational strengths and performance of our businesses, and believe the presentation of OIBDA helps improve the ability to understand our operating performance and evaluate our performance in comparison to comparable periods. However, a limitation of the use of OIBDA as a performance measure is that it does not reflect the periodic costs of certain capitalized tangible and intangible assets used in generating revenue in our businesses. Accordingly, OIBDA should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for, operating income (loss), net income (loss) and other measures of financial performance reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP. In addition, OIBDA, as we calculate it, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures employed by other companies.

    Adjusted Operating Income (Loss), Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted Net Income (Loss)

    Adjusted operating income (loss), Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted net income (loss) is operating income (loss), OIBDA and net income (loss), respectively, adjusted to exclude the impact of certain items that affect comparability. Factors affecting period-to-period comparability of the unadjusted measures in the quarter included the items listed in Figure 7 below. We use Adjusted operating income (loss), Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted net income (loss) to evaluate our actual operating performance. We believe that the adjusted results provide relevant and useful information for investors because they clarify our actual operating performance, make it easier to compare our results with those of other companies in our industry and allow investors to review performance in the same way as our management. Since these are not measures of performance calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP, they should not be considered in isolation of, or as a substitute for, operating income (loss), OIBDA and net income (loss) attributable to Warner Music Group Corp. as indicators of operating performance, and they may not be comparable to similarly titled measures employed by other companies.

    Constant Currency

    Because exchange rates are an important factor in understanding period-to-period comparisons, we believe the presentation of revenue on a constant-currency basis in addition to reported revenue helps improve the ability to understand our operating results and evaluate our performance in comparison to prior periods. Constant-currency information compares results between periods as if exchange rates had remained constant period over period. We use results on a constant-currency basis as one measure to evaluate our performance. We calculate constant-currency results by applying current-year foreign currency exchange rates to prior-year results. However, a limitation of the use of the constant-currency results as a performance measure is that it does not reflect the impact of exchange rates on our revenue. These results should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for, results reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Results on a constant-currency basis, as we present them, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies and are not a measure of performance presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

    Free Cash Flow

    Free Cash Flow reflects our cash flow provided by operating activities less capital expenditures and cash paid or received for investments. We use Free Cash Flow, among other measures, to evaluate our operating performance. Management believes Free Cash Flow provides investors with an important perspective on the cash available to fund our debt service requirements, ongoing working capital requirements, capital expenditure requirements, strategic acquisitions and investments, and any dividends, prepayments of debt or repurchases or retirement of our outstanding debt or notes in open market purchases, privately negotiated purchases or otherwise. As a result, Free Cash Flow is a significant measure of our ability to generate long-term value. It is useful for investors to know whether this ability is being enhanced or degraded as a result of our operating performance. We believe the presentation of Free Cash Flow is relevant and useful for investors because it allows investors to view performance in a manner similar to the method management uses.

    Because Free Cash Flow is not a measure of performance calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP, Free Cash Flow should not be considered in isolation of, or as a substitute for, net income (loss) as an indicator of operating performance or cash flow provided by operating activities as a measure of liquidity. Free Cash Flow, as we calculate it, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures employed by other companies. In addition, Free Cash Flow does not necessarily represent funds available for discretionary use and is not necessarily a measure of our ability to fund our cash needs. Because Free Cash Flow deducts capital expenditures and cash paid or received for investments from “net cash provided by operating activities” (the most directly comparable U.S. GAAP financial measure), users of this information should consider the types of events and transactions that are not reflected. We provide below a reconciliation of Free Cash Flow to the most directly comparable amount reported under U.S. GAAP, which is “net cash provided by operating activities.”

    Adjusted EBITDA

    Adjusted EBITDA is equivalent to “EBITDA” as defined in our Revolving Credit Facility and our 2020 indenture and substantially similar to “Consolidated EBITDA” as defined under our 2012 and 2014 indentures and “EBITDA” as defined under our Senior Term Loan Facility, respectively. Adjusted EBITDA differs from the term “EBITDA” as it is commonly used. The definition of Adjusted EBITDA, in addition to adjusting net income to exclude interest expense, income taxes, and depreciation and amortization, also adjusts net income by excluding items or expenses such as, among other items, (1) the amount of any restructuring charges or reserves; (2) any non-cash charges (including any impairment charges); (3) any net loss resulting from hedging currency exchange risks; (4) the amount of management, monitoring, consulting and advisory fees paid to Access under the Management Agreement or otherwise; (5) business optimization expenses (including consolidation initiatives, severance costs and other costs relating to initiatives aimed at profitability improvement); (6) transaction expenses; (7) equity-based compensation expense; and (8) certain extraordinary, unusual or non-recurring items. The definition of EBITDA under the Revolving Credit Facility also includes adjustments for the pro forma impact of certain projected cost savings, operating expense reductions and synergies and any quality of earnings analysis prepared by independent certified public accountants in connection with an acquisition, merger, consolidation or other investment.

    Adjusted EBITDA is a key measure used by our management to understand and evaluate our operating performance, generate future operating plans and make strategic decisions regarding the allocation of capital. Adjusted EBITDA has limitations as an analytical tool, and you should not consider it in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of our results as reported under U.S. GAAP. Some of those limitations include: (1) it does not reflect the periodic costs of certain capitalized tangible and intangible assets used in generating revenue for our business; (2) it does not reflect the significant interest expense or cash requirements necessary to service interest or principal payments on our indebtedness; and (3) it does not reflect every cash expenditure, future requirements for capital expenditures or contractual commitments. In particular, this measure adds back certain non-cash, extraordinary, unusual or non-recurring charges that are deducted in calculating net income; however, these are expenses that may recur, vary greatly and are difficult to predict. In addition, Adjusted EBITDA is not the same as net income or cash flow provided by operating activities as those terms are defined by U.S. GAAP and does not necessarily indicate whether cash flows will be sufficient to fund cash needs. Accordingly, Adjusted EBITDA should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for, net income (loss) and other measures of financial performance reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

    ###
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on May 4, 2021 - 12:08am

WARNER MUSIC GROUP CORP. REPORTS RESULTS FOR THE SECOND QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 2021

Financial Highlights:

  • Double-Digit Revenue Growth Highlighted by Strength across Recorded Music and Music Publishing
  • Recorded Music Streaming Revenue Grew 20% Driven by Chart-Topping New Music
  • Revenue Attributable to Emerging Streaming Platforms Continues to Show Accelerated Growth
  • Continued Margin Expansion and High Free Cash Flow Conversion

For the three months ended March 31, 2021

  • Total revenue grew 17% or 13% in constant currency
  • Digital revenue grew 23% or 20% in constant currency
  • Net income was $117 million versus net loss of $74 million in the prior-year quarter
  • OIBDA increased to $228 million versus $12 million in the prior-year quarter
  • Adjusted OIBDA increased 21% to $255 million versus $210 million in the prior-year quarter
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 25% to $268 million versus $214 million in the prior-year quarter

NEW YORK, New York, May 4, 2021—Warner Music Group Corp. today announced its second-quarter financial results for the period ended March 31, 2021.

"Following a strong first quarter, I’m happy to report that our momentum continued in Q2, and our business is stronger than ever. Despite the ongoing pandemic, we generated double-digit revenue growth in both Recorded Music and Music Publishing,” said Steve Cooper, CEO, Warner Music Group. “Our success was driven by chart-topping new releases from our incredible artists and songwriters, as well as bold and imaginative execution from our world-class operators. We’re excited about the rest of year, as we have a fantastic slate of new music coming from established superstars and emerging talent.”

"In the second quarter, the continued strength of our core streaming business was bolstered by impressive growth in revenue from emerging streaming platforms, which drove healthy margins and free cash flow,” added Eric Levin, Executive Vice President and CFO, Warner Music Group. “We look forward to delivering long-term value as we continue to invest in culture-shifting talent, innovative technology, and dynamic new partnerships."

Revenue was up 16.7% (or 12.8% in constant currency). Revenue increases in the quarter were driven by robust digital revenue growth across Recorded Music and Music Publishing, strong Recorded Music physical revenue performance, and an increase in Music Publishing synchronization revenue, which were partially offset by a decline in Recorded Music licensing revenue and Music Publishing performance and mechanical revenue. Recorded Music artist services and expanded-rights revenue increased 2.6% on an as-reported basis and decreased 3.3% in constant currency. Excluding artist services and expanded-rights revenue in Recorded Music and performance revenue in Music Publishing, the areas most affected by COVID, total revenue would have increased 19.9% (or 16.3% in constant currency). Digital revenue grew 23.0% (or 19.8% in constant currency), and represented 68.8% of total revenue, compared to 65.3% in the prior-year quarter.

Operating income was $151 million compared to an operating loss of $49 million in the prior-year quarter. Net income was $117 million compared to a net loss of $74 million in the prior-year quarter. OIBDA was $228 million, an increase from $12 million in the prior-year quarter and OIBDA margin increased 17.1 percentage points to 18.2% from 1.1% in the prior-year quarter. The increase in operating income, net income, OIBDA and OIBDA margin was primarily due to strong operating performance, lower non-cash stock-based compensation and other related expenses in the quarter of $151 million and continued cost-management efforts.

Adjusted operating income, Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted net income exclude costs related to non-cash stock-based compensation and other related expenses and restructuring and other transformation initiatives in both the quarter and the prior-year quarter. In the prior-year quarter, costs related to COVID and the Company's IPO are also excluded. Adjusted EBITDA excludes these items and includes expected savings resulting from transformation initiatives and the pro forma impact of specified transactions. See below for calculations and reconciliations of Adjusted operating income, Adjusted OIBDA, Adjusted net income and Adjusted EBITDA.

Adjusted OIBDA increased 21.4% from $210 million to $255 million and Adjusted OIBDA margin increased 0.8 percentage points to 20.4% from 19.6% due to strong operating performance and margin improvement associated with revenue mix and continued cost-management efforts. Adjusted operating income increased 19.5% from $149 million to $178 million due to the same factors affecting Adjusted OIBDA, partially offset by higher depreciation and amortization expenses due to recent acquisitions and capital spending.

Adjusted EBITDA increased 25.2% from $214 million to $268 million with Adjusted EBITDA margins improving 1.4 percentage points from 20.0% to 21.4%. The increase was largely due to the same factors affecting Adjusted OIBDA.

Adjusted net income was $144 million compared to $124 million in the prior-year quarter.  Adjusted net income grew due to increases in adjusted operating income, the favorable impact of exchange rates on the Company’s external Euro-denominated debt and non-cash gains on certain investments and hedging activity, partially offset by higher income tax expense in the quarter compared to the prior-year quarter.

Basic and Diluted earnings per share were $0.23 and $0.22 for the Class A and Class B shareholders, respectively, due to the net income attributable to the Company in the quarter of $117 million.

As of March 31, 2021, the Company reported a cash balance of $588 million, total debt of $3.354 billion and net debt (defined as total long-term debt, net of deferred financing costs, minus cash and equivalents) of $2.766 billion.

Cash provided by operating activities was $150 million compared to $86 million in the prior-year quarter.  The change was largely a result of strong operating performance, timing of working capital, including payments from certain digital service providers and timing of royalty payments. Free Cash Flow, as defined below, increased to $89 million from $67 million in the prior-year quarter largely due to an increase in operating cash flow, partially offset by increases in investment activity and capital spending.

Recorded Music revenue was up 16.8% (or 12.9% in constant currency). The revenue increase was primarily due to the continuing growth in streaming revenue—which grew 23.2% (or 20.3% in constant currency) over the prior-year quarter— reflecting accelerated revenue growth in emerging streaming platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, and Peloton. The increase in digital revenue reflects continuing growth in streaming, the Company’s largest and fastest-growing source of revenue. Physical revenue also grew, increasing 25.5% (or 19.2% in constant currency) primarily due to an increasing demand for vinyl products as well as success from new releases including The Yellow Monkey in Japan, Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac. Artist services and expanded-rights revenue increased on an as-reported basis by 2.6% and decreased 3.3% in constant currency, reflecting the impact of COVID on concert touring and live events, partially offset by an increase in direct-to-consumer merchandising revenue. Licensing revenue was down mainly due to lower broadcast fees resulting from COVID, partially offset by higher synchronization activity. Major sellers included Dua Lipa, Michael Bublé, Ed Sheeran, Ava Max and The Yellow Monkey.

Recorded Music operating income was $184 million, up from $36 million in the prior-year quarter and operating margin was up 13.4 percentage points to 17.4% versus 4.0% in the prior-year quarter. OIBDA increased to $235 million from $76 million in the prior-year quarter and OIBDA margin increased 13.8 percentage points to 22.2%. Adjusted OIBDA was $242 million versus $190 million in the prior-year quarter with Adjusted OIBDA margin up 2.0 percentage points to 22.9%. The increases in operating income and OIBDA were driven by increases in Adjusted OIBDA and a decrease in non-cash stock-based compensation and other related expenses. The increases in Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted OIBDA margin were primarily due to strong operating performance, overall cost savings, revenue mix and impact from recent acquisitions.

Music Publishing revenue increased 15.7% (or 11.6% in constant currency). Digital and synchronization revenue growth was partially offset by declines in performance and mechanical revenue. Digital revenue increased 40.5% (or 33.3% in constant currency) reflecting the continuing growth in streaming and timing of new deals with digital service providers. Digital revenue represented 54.2% of total Music Publishing revenue versus 44.6% in the prior-year quarter.  Synchronization revenue increased due to growth in motion picture and commercial income. The decrease in performance revenue was primarily due to COVID. Mechanical revenue also decreased due to the continuing shift to streaming.

Music Publishing operating income was $22 million, down 26.7% from $30 million in the prior-year quarter largely driven by revenue mix, higher employee costs and increases in amortization. Operating margin was 11.5%, down 6.6 percentage points from 18.1% in the prior-year quarter. Music Publishing OIBDA decreased 10.4% to $43 million, and Music Publishing OIBDA margin decreased 6.5 percentage points to 22.4%. Adjusted OIBDA decreased 6.1% to $46 million and Adjusted OIBDA margin decreased to 24.0% due to revenue mix and timing of a non-recurring benefit in the prior-year quarter.

Financial details for the quarter can be found in the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2021, filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This morning, management will be hosting a conference call to discuss the results at 8:30 A.M. EST. The call will be webcast on www.wmg.com.

About Warner Music Group

With a legacy extending back over 200 years, Warner Music Group today is home to an unparalleled family of creative artists, songwriters, and companies that are moving culture across the globe.  At the core of WMG's Recorded Music  division are four of the most iconic companies in history: Atlantic, Elektra, Parlophone and Warner Records. They are joined by renowned labels such as Asylum, Big Beat, Canvasback, East West, Erato, FFRR, Fueled by Ramen, Nonesuch, Reprise, Rhino, Roadrunner, Sire, Spinnin’ Records, Warner Classics and Warner Music Nashville. Warner Chappell Music - which traces its origins back to the founding of Chappell & Company in 1811 - is one of the world's leading music publishers, with a catalog of more than one million copyrights spanning every musical genre from the standards of the Great American Songbook to the biggest hits of the 21st century.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995

This communication includes forward-looking statements that reflect the current views of Warner Music Group about future events and financial performance.  Words such as "estimates," "expects," "anticipates," "projects," "plans," "intends," "believes," "forecasts" and variations of such words or similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends, or that do not relate to historical matters, identify forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are made as of today, and we disclaim any duty to update such statements. Our expectations, beliefs and projections are expressed in good faith and we believe there is a reasonable basis for them. However, we cannot assure you that management's expectations, beliefs and projections will result or be achieved. Investors should not rely on forward-looking statements because they are subject to a variety of risks, uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations. Please refer to our Form 10-K, Form 10-Qs and our other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in our forward-looking statements.

We maintain an Internet site at www.wmg.com. We use our website as a channel of distribution for material company information.  Financial and other material information regarding Warner Music Group is routinely posted on and accessible at http://investors.wmg.com. In addition, you may automatically receive email alerts and other information about Warner Music Group by enrolling your email address through the “email alerts” section at http://investors.wmg.com. Our website and the information posted on it or connected to it shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into this communication.

Basis of Presentation

The Company maintains a 52-53 week fiscal year ending on the last Friday in each reporting period. As such, all references to March 31, 2021 and March 31, 2020 relate to the periods ended March 26, 2021 and March 27, 2020, respectively. For convenience purposes, the Company continues to date its financial statements as of March 31.

Supplemental Disclosures Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Measures

We evaluate our operating performance based on several factors, including the following non-GAAP financial measures:

OIBDA

OIBDA reflects our operating income before non-cash depreciation of tangible assets and non-cash amortization of intangible assets. We consider OIBDA to be an important indicator of the operational strengths and performance of our businesses, and believe the presentation of OIBDA helps improve the ability to understand our operating performance and evaluate our performance in comparison to comparable periods. However, a limitation of the use of OIBDA as a performance measure is that it does not reflect the periodic costs of certain capitalized tangible and intangible assets used in generating revenue in our businesses. Accordingly, OIBDA should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for, operating income (loss), net income (loss) and other measures of financial performance reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP. In addition, OIBDA, as we calculate it, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures employed by other companies.

Adjusted Operating Income (Loss), Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted Net Income (Loss)

Adjusted operating income (loss), Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted net income (loss) is operating income (loss), OIBDA and net income (loss), respectively, adjusted to exclude the impact of certain items that affect comparability. Factors affecting period-to-period comparability of the unadjusted measures in the quarter included the items listed in Figure 7 below. We use Adjusted operating income (loss), Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted net income (loss) to evaluate our actual operating performance. We believe that the adjusted results provide relevant and useful information for investors because they clarify our actual operating performance, make it easier to compare our results with those of other companies in our industry and allow investors to review performance in the same way as our management. Since these are not measures of performance calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP, they should not be considered in isolation of, or as a substitute for, operating income (loss), OIBDA and net income (loss) attributable to Warner Music Group Corp. as indicators of operating performance, and they may not be comparable to similarly titled measures employed by other companies.

Constant Currency

Because exchange rates are an important factor in understanding period-to-period comparisons, we believe the presentation of revenue on a constant-currency basis in addition to reported revenue helps improve the ability to understand our operating results and evaluate our performance in comparison to prior periods. Constant-currency information compares results between periods as if exchange rates had remained constant period over period. We use results on a constant-currency basis as one measure to evaluate our performance. We calculate constant-currency results by applying current-year foreign currency exchange rates to prior-year results. However, a limitation of the use of the constant-currency results as a performance measure is that it does not reflect the impact of exchange rates on our revenue. These results should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for, results reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Results on a constant-currency basis, as we present them, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies and are not a measure of performance presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

Free Cash Flow

Free Cash Flow reflects our cash flow provided by operating activities less capital expenditures and cash paid or received for investments. We use Free Cash Flow, among other measures, to evaluate our operating performance. Management believes Free Cash Flow provides investors with an important perspective on the cash available to fund our debt service requirements, ongoing working capital requirements, capital expenditure requirements, strategic acquisitions and investments, and any dividends, prepayments of debt or repurchases or retirement of our outstanding debt or notes in open market purchases, privately negotiated purchases or otherwise. As a result, Free Cash Flow is a significant measure of our ability to generate long-term value. It is useful for investors to know whether this ability is being enhanced or degraded as a result of our operating performance. We believe the presentation of Free Cash Flow is relevant and useful for investors because it allows investors to view performance in a manner similar to the method management uses.

Because Free Cash Flow is not a measure of performance calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP, Free Cash Flow should not be considered in isolation of, or as a substitute for, net income (loss) as an indicator of operating performance or cash flow provided by operating activities as a measure of liquidity. Free Cash Flow, as we calculate it, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures employed by other companies. In addition, Free Cash Flow does not necessarily represent funds available for discretionary use and is not necessarily a measure of our ability to fund our cash needs. Because Free Cash Flow deducts capital expenditures and cash paid or received for investments from “net cash provided by operating activities” (the most directly comparable U.S. GAAP financial measure), users of this information should consider the types of events and transactions that are not reflected. We provide below a reconciliation of Free Cash Flow to the most directly comparable amount reported under U.S. GAAP, which is “net cash provided by operating activities.”

Adjusted EBITDA

Adjusted EBITDA is equivalent to “EBITDA” as defined in our Revolving Credit Facility and our 2020 indenture and substantially similar to “Consolidated EBITDA” as defined under our 2012 and 2014 indentures and “EBITDA” as defined under our Senior Term Loan Facility, respectively. Adjusted EBITDA differs from the term “EBITDA” as it is commonly used. The definition of Adjusted EBITDA, in addition to adjusting net income to exclude interest expense, income taxes, and depreciation and amortization, also adjusts net income by excluding items or expenses such as, among other items, (1) the amount of any restructuring charges or reserves; (2) any non-cash charges (including any impairment charges); (3) any net loss resulting from hedging currency exchange risks; (4) the amount of management, monitoring, consulting and advisory fees paid to Access under the Management Agreement or otherwise; (5) business optimization expenses (including consolidation initiatives, severance costs and other costs relating to initiatives aimed at profitability improvement); (6) transaction expenses; (7) equity-based compensation expense; and (8) certain extraordinary, unusual or non-recurring items. The definition of EBITDA under the Revolving Credit Facility also includes adjustments for the pro forma impact of certain projected cost savings, operating expense reductions and synergies and any quality of earnings analysis prepared by independent certified public accountants in connection with an acquisition, merger, consolidation or other investment.

Adjusted EBITDA is a key measure used by our management to understand and evaluate our operating performance, generate future operating plans and make strategic decisions regarding the allocation of capital. Adjusted EBITDA has limitations as an analytical tool, and you should not consider it in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of our results as reported under U.S. GAAP. Some of those limitations include: (1) it does not reflect the periodic costs of certain capitalized tangible and intangible assets used in generating revenue for our business; (2) it does not reflect the significant interest expense or cash requirements necessary to service interest or principal payments on our indebtedness; and (3) it does not reflect every cash expenditure, future requirements for capital expenditures or contractual commitments. In particular, this measure adds back certain non-cash, extraordinary, unusual or non-recurring charges that are deducted in calculating net income; however, these are expenses that may recur, vary greatly and are difficult to predict. In addition, Adjusted EBITDA is not the same as net income or cash flow provided by operating activities as those terms are defined by U.S. GAAP and does not necessarily indicate whether cash flows will be sufficient to fund cash needs. Accordingly, Adjusted EBITDA should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for, net income (loss) and other measures of financial performance reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

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James Steven
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Investor Contact
Kareem Chin