Universal Music Group Q4: Lousy, Could Be Worse

No surprise: The world’s largest music company watched sales slip last year. Vivendi’s Universal Music Group saw revenue drop 3% in Q4 and 1.7% for 2007, the company said today. Digital sales grew 51%, and now make up 14% of revenues.

Given the tailspin the industry is in, it’d be tempting to give UMG a pat on the back for making it through without a total collapse. But even those numbers are less impressive then they appear, since they include money from acquisitions made this year. In particular, if you strip out UMG’s revenue from its purchase of BMG publishing, full year sales would have dropped 5.8%, and Q4 would be down 7.8%. Yecch.

Looking for cheerier news? The video game industry is doing great, and Vivendi, via it’s crazily successful World Of Warcraft franchise, is one of the biggest players. The company’s game unit recorded revenue of $1.5 billion for the year, up 26.6% over 2006. About 80% of that comes from WoW, via the company’s Blizzard Entertainment unit.

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