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Warner Music reporting more stable sales, propped up by iTunes and streaming services


There's finally some good news in the music business, but don't get too excited, it's not that good. Warner Music reports (before we hear about the full industry sales from 2011) that its sales were steady last year, at $780 million. In this case, steady is better than a drop, which is what most of the music industry has seen lately.

Warner says that digital revenue makes up 28% of the company's sales, a number that's jumped up 17% in the last year. iTunes and other downloadable services accounted for $205 million in Warner's revenue in the last quarter.

Streaming services are becoming more lucrative as well. While Spotify and other streaming services have only brought in $15 million so far, that share of the market is growing by 36%, much higher than downloadable music's 15% growth. In other words, streaming revenue isn't a huge deal yet -- but it might be very soon if trends continue.

Plus, analysts are saying that streaming revenue (which comes from customers who pay a monthly fee for an all-you-can-listen-to music service) often comes from those Napster users who didn't pay at all before, which means that it's brand new revenue for the music companies. Not as much revenue, obviously, as if those customers actually bought every CD they listened to, but a music industry that's been flagging for the better part of a decade will probably take what it can get.

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