Sony generated $7.5 billion in recorded music and publishing last year, up 24% year-on-year

Sony Corp today (February 2) released the results of its fourth quarter (fiscal third quarter) schedule for 2021, allowing MBW to calculate how the Japanese giant’s music rights deal will perform during the year. last.

Small conclusion? It worked very well.

In terms of recorded music revenue over calendar year 2021, MBW calculates that Sony Music generated US$5.77 billion – at the top 25.2%or $1.16 billion, on the equivalent figure for 2020.

In terms of music publishing revenues (generated by Sony Music Publishing and its sister company in Japan) during the year 2021, Sony has donated $1.72 billion – at the top 19.7%or $284 million, compared to the equivalent figure for 2020.

(If Sony could grow its publishing business by a similar financial margin in 2022, we would consider a publishing operation with a ≈ $2 billion turnover this calendar year.)

Together, this means that Sony’s worldwide exploitation of music rights (recorded music more musical edition) brushed $7.5 billion of turnover during the calendar year 2021, with $7.49 billion in reported income.

This combined number has increased 23.9% year on year – a leap of no less than $1.44 billion in annual revenue – according to MBW calculations, based on Sony’s quarterly results (initially shown in yen).




Sony Corp logo

Of course, Sony’s latest results are of particular interest for its streaming revenue.

Over the 12 months of the 2021 calendar, according to calculations by MBW, Sony recorded music streaming hit revenue $3.94 billion.

That was up by a third (33.0%) – or by $978 million – compared to the equivalent figure for 2020.

Meanwhile, Sony’s music publishing revenue is specifically attributed to streaming success $850.9 million in the 2021 calendar.

It was up 36.9% or by $229 millionon the equivalent figure for 2020.

MBW is able to calculate all of these numbers (in constant currency USD) thanks to Sony’s recently revealed quarterly results for the Q4 (Fiscal Q3) calendar.

During this quarter – the last of the 2021 calendar – Sony’s global recorded music generated operation $1.62 billionat the top 15.2% from year to year.

In this quarterly figure, Sony generated $1.05 billion from broadcast of recorded music royalties – an increase of 19.0% from year to year.

Sony also revealed the names of artist projects that generated the most recorded music revenue (aka “biggest sales”) globally during the fourth quarter of 2021.

Outside of Japan, these artist projects were, in order of revenue:


  1. Adele, 30 years old
  2. Doja Cat, Planet Elle
  3. Lil Nas X, MONTERO
  4. Kid LAROI, F*CK LOVE
  5. Harry Styles, fine line
  6. Mariah Carey, Merry Christmas
  7. Polo G, Hall of Fame
  8. Luke Combs, what you see is what you get
  9. Rod Wave, SoulFly
  10. Little Mix, between us

Following its impressive performance in the fourth calendar quarter (third fiscal quarter), Sony Corp today revised upwards its music division revenue and profit guidance for fiscal year 2021 (ending March 2022).

(Sony’s music division officially includes both its recorded music and music publishing operations, plus ‘Visual Media and Platform’ which houses mobile video game releases.)

As a result – as you can see below – Sony now expects revenue from its music division for the fiscal year to reach 1.09 trillion yen (approximately $9.8 billion), with an operating profit of 205 billion yen (about $1.8 billion).


Sony Music Publishing, led by CEO and Chairman Jon Platt, is Sony’s US-based music publishing company.

Sony Music Entertainment, led by CEO Rob Stringer, is Sony’s US-based recorded music operation.

And Sony Music Group – also led by Rob Stringer, as chairman – is Sony’s US-based umbrella group for Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Publishing.


Note: All year-over-year percentage increases/decreases published in this article are calculated on a constant currency basis at the converted US dollar level. MBW uses Sony’s own quarterly average exchange rates for these calculations.

See below for a breakdown of Sony’s latest quarterly (tax) Japanese Yen figures, as released by Sony Group Corp today.



For this analysis, MBW has calculated Sony’s financial statements from Japanese Yen to US Dollars at the following prevailing exchange rates for each quarter, as confirmed by Sony Corp:

  • Q1 2020 calendar: 109.0 Yen per USD
  • Q2 2020 calendar: 107.6 Yen per USD
  • Q3 2020 calendar: 106.2 Yen per USD
  • Q4 2020 calendar: 104.5 Yen per USD
  • Q1 2021 calendar: 105.9 Yen per USD
  • Q2 2021 calendar: 109.5 Yen per USD
  • Q3 2021 calendar: 110.1 Yen per USD
  • Q4 2021 Calendar: 113.7 Yen per USD

By applying these trading numbers to each applicable period, we effectively get a constant currency picture of Sony Music’s US-biased performance.

It’s not a perfect system; this risks slightly overstating Sony Music Entertainment’s global business by converting a portion of Sony Music Entertainment Japan’s revenue (which would typically be reported directly in yen) to US dollars.

But it gives us a clearer reflection of New York-based Sony Music Entertainment’s performance outside of the FX distortion, as the company had to convert its US currency to yen in the first place for Sony Corp’s results. The same goes for Sony Music Publishing, based in the United States.

MBW believes that this exchange system is the criteria used internally at Sony Music Group headquarters in New York.


Sony’s own description of its three music divisions is as follows:

  • Recorded Music – Streaming includes distribution of recorded digital music via streaming; Recorded Music – Others includes distribution of recorded music via physical media and digital download as well as revenue from live performances by artists;
  • Music editing iincludes management and licensing of song lyrics and music;
  • Visual media and platform includes the production and distribution of animation titles, including game applications based on the animation titles, and various service offerings for music and visual products.

Boring but important additional explanation: MBW’s year-over-year comparisons in this analysis are comparable (on a converted USD basis at prevailing quarterly rates) except for the first calendar quarter; Sony Corp changed the way it reports recorded music revenue last year to reflect streaming revenue generated by partner labels on a gross basis. We’ve recalculated Sony’s 2020 calendar recorded music numbers based on this. However, Sony Corp has do not released this adjusted streaming number on a raw basis for the first calendar quarter of 2020, which means this figure is not adjusted. The difference is not material. This does not affect Sony music edition numbers.The music industry around the world