Apple Music helps streaming become Warner’s biggest business

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Apple Music is awesome -- but can it replace the iTunes Store?
Apple Music is big business for the labels.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The labels may have resisted music streaming early on, but Warner Music Group will be grateful it’s big business today.

So big, in fact, that thanks to services like Apple Music and Spotify, streaming music just raked in more revenue than anything else last quarter.

For the first time ever, streaming surpassed both physical sales and digital downloads during the first quarter of 2016 to deliver $72 million in revenue, Warner announced today. The company generated just $6 million from CDs, and $17 million from downloads.

The takeover comes just one year after streaming surpassed downloads for the first time, and it helped Warner increase sales and revenue by 10 percent overall — more than half of which came from outside of the U.S., according to Recode.

However, Warner — and every other label — would like to see even more money from streaming, and from services like YouTube.

During the earnings call this morning, CEO Stephen Cooper said, “It is imperative that we ensure a fairer correlation between the massive consumption of music via services built around user-uploaded content and the value generated for artists, songwriters and rights holders.”

“We have made our views known through our submissions to the European Commission and the U.S. Copyright Office.”

Apple recently announced that Apple Music now has 13 million paying subscribers, and it is expected to rollout a big revamp in June in an effort to boost that. Spotify also boasts 30 million subscribers, while Deezer has more than 6 million.