Careers at Warner Music
Warner Music aims to produce and distribute quality, original music content and protect and commercialise the rights to a broad portfolio of music spanning multiple genres. It also provides various artist services, such as management and promotion.
Warner Music operates through two business segments:
- Recorded Music, comprising the marketing, sale and licensing of recorded music in various physical and digital formats, as well as the provision of various artists services such as merchandising, sponsorships and management; and
- Music Publishing, comprising the ownerships and acquisition of music rights, and the commercialisation and exploitation of such rights.
Warner Music traces its history back to the establishment of Music Publishers Holding Company in 1929, by Jack Warner, then President of Warner Bros. Pictures. Music Publishers Holding Company was set up to acquire music copyrights as a means of providing inexpensive music for the Warner Group’s motion pictures. The group expanded its music industry interests in 1958 with the foundation of Warner Bros. Records, which served initially to distribute movie soundtracks.
Warner Music has gone on to establish itself as a significant player in the music publishing industry, acquiring a number of record labels throughout the 20th Century, including major names such as Atlantic Records. The Company is today regarded as one of the “big three” music publishing groups, alongside Sony BMG and Universal Music. Warner Music was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005, but was acquired by Access Industries in 2011, following which it was delisted.
Business model of Warner Music
Warner Music serves a range of clients through its Recorded Music and Music Publishing segments. The majority of the Company’s physical sales are made to wholesalers, distributors or retail chains, as well as music specialty stores, general entertainment specialty stores, supermarkets, mass merchants and discounters, and independent retailers. This includes large retail groups such as Amazon, Best Buy and Barnes and Noble.
Warner Music also licenses its content to a variety of media customers through which it reaches consumers, including:
- Streaming services and internet radio platforms, including well-known operators such as Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and YouTube;
- Digital download services, such as iTunes and Google Play; and
- Television and motion picture studios.
Warner Music provides its services and content to customers across the world. Its principal market, however, is its native US. The Company also serves markets across Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.
Warner Music provides value to its customers in the following ways:
- The quality and breadth of its content, with the Company owning the rights to a wide range of music content across numerous genres, and from high-profile artists both current and historic, such as Ed Sheeran, The Eagles, Van Morrison, Wiz Khalifa, The Kinks and Skrillex;
- Its standing and reputation within the music industry, being one of the oldest and most established companies in its industry, considered one of the “big three” music publishing groups, and including major music labels such as Atlantic Records and Parlophone; and
- Its industry expertise, with the Company employing experienced industry executives and highly qualified staff.
Warner Music operates a website at www.wmg.com, through which it provides information on its various services and its music content portfolio. The Company does not make its content available through its own digital sales channels.
Warner Music’s physical products – including CDs, DVDs, and LPs – are sold directly to retail and distribution customers by its own in-house sales force, from a network of sales offices across its operating jurisdictions. The Company has a presence in more than 50 countries worldwide, either directly or via subsidiary companies, affiliates or non-affiliated licensees.
Warner Music’s content is also available through a range of digital stores and online streaming services. Digital sales and streaming agreements are also covered by the Company’s own sales and business development teams.
Despite its online presence, Warner does not provide content or services to its customers on a self-service basis. Its music content is available to consumer, however, on a self-service basis from various retail outlets, digital stores and streaming services.
Warner Music establishes its sales agreements with retail chains, distributors and wholesalers through direct consultation between its sales team and the customer. The Company seeks to establish long-term relationships with these clients that separately cover the needs and of each individual client. Agreements with online and mobile service providers typically last one to three years. These shorter agreements enable the Company to maintain some flexibility in its dealings with the fast-paced digital business space.
Warner music provides a range of information resources on its website, including FAQs and provides contact details for new and existing customers to contact the company directly. Customers can also interact directly with the Company through its social media accounts with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Warner Music Group is one of the largest music publishing groups in the world.
The company operates through two reportable segments: Recorded Music, which covers the Company’s discovery and development of artists, and all related marketing and distribution of music produced by these artists; and Music Publishing, which covers the Company’s ownerships and acquisition of music rights – across all music genres – and the licensing of recorded music content to for use in soundtracks, music streaming and compilation albums.
Warner Music operates through a number of record labels, including Atlantic Records, Asylum, Big Beat, Canvasback, Eastwest, Elektra, Erato, FFRR, Fueled by Ramen, Nonesuch, Parlophone, Reprise, Roadrunner, Sire, and Warner Classics.
Warner Music partners with companies from a variety of sectors and from a range of international jurisdictions. Its partners can be categorised as follows:
- Copyright and royalty collection societies, which assist the Company and its artists in collecting royalty dues for its portfolio content;
- Online and mobile music service providers, that collaborate with the Company on the digital distribution of its music content;
- Publishing partners, with which the Company cooperates in marketing and distributing new content, often through local joint venture companies; and
- Advertising and marketing partners, with which the Company collaborates on marketing and advertising campaigns.
Warner Music currently partners with online service providers and mobile service providers, such as Amazon, Apple, Vevo, KKBox, Rhapsody, and Vadio; has established an advertising agreement with Rogers Media; and has launched joint-venture publishing operations with Amedia in Russia and Julien Creuzard in France.
Warner Music’s key resources are its music catalogue and portfolio of artists, its sales and distribution channels, its partnerships, and its personnel. The Company’s library of music content is material to its ongoing business operations.
As such, Warner Music protects its intellectual properties through a range of intellectual property measures, principally copyright law and trademarks.
Warner Music incurs costs through the production of new music content, the sale and distribution of physical and digital music products, the implementation of marketing and advertising campaigns, the management of its partnerships, and the retention of its personnel.
The Company also incurs artist and repertoire costs, comprising the payment of royalties to songwriters, co-publishers and other copyright holders, and the signing and development of new songwriters and artists.
As of 30th September 2015, Warner Music employed around 4,211 members of staff worldwide, including temporary and part-time employees, all of whom represent costs in the form of salaries and benefits. The Company also operates a network of offices and facilities across 50 countries, accruing cost in the form of rental and utility fees.
Warner Music generates revenue through the production, sale and licensing of music content through its two operating segments. The Recorded Music segment derives revenue from four revenue stream:
- Physical, comprising the sale of physical products such as CDs, vinyl and DVDs;
- Digital, comprising sales through digital download services, streaming services and other online and mobile digital music services;
- Artist services and expanded-rights, comprising sponsorship services, development of artist websites, merchandising, touring, concert promotion, and brand management; and
- Licensing, comprising royalties and fees associated with the licensing of content to films and television programs, television commercials, and videogames, as well as royalties associated with the broadcasting of music on television and radio, and in public spaces such as shops, workplaces, restaurants, bars and clubs.
Warner Music’s Music Publishing revenues are derived from five principal sources:
- Performance, comprising public performances of proprietary content;
- Mechanical, comprising the sale of recordings in any physical format or configuration such as CDs, vinyl and DVDs;
- Digital, comprising the sale of recordings to digital download services and streaming services, as well as digital performances;
- Synchronisation, comprising revenue derived from the sue of recordings in other products, such as in commercials, videogames, toys, novelty items, and merchandise; and
- Other, including revenue derived from the use of proprietary content in printed sheet music.
In 2015 Warner Music generated an annual revenue of $2.966 billion. The Company’s Recorded Music revenues decreased by $25 million, or 1%, to $2.501 billion, from $2.526 billion in 2014, while Music Publishing revenues decreased by $35 million, or 7%, to $482 million the year.
info: Stephen Cooper (“Cooper”) serves as Chief Executive Officer at Warner Music. He joined the Company in 2011 following its acquisition of Access Industries, where had held a senior leadership position. Cooper also serves as a member of the Supervisory Board for olefin refiner LyondellBasell Industries, and is an advisor at Zolfo Cooper, a leading financial advisory and interim management firm, of which he was a co-founder. Additionally, Cooper is Managing Partner of private equity firm Cooper Investment Partners. Cooper has worked as a financial advisor for more than 30 years, and has held senior leaderships and executive positions at a number of companies, including spells as Vice Chairman and member of the office of Chief Executive Officer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiian Telcom. Cooper holds a bachelor’s degree from Occidental College and master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
info: Stu Bergen (“Bergen”) serves as Warner Music’s Chief Executive Officer for International and Global Commercial Services, overseeing the Company’s international Recorded Music operations outside the US and UK and Warner Music’s Global Marketing team. Bergen previously served as Warner Music’s President for International Recorded Music, and before that was Executive Vice President for International and Head of Global Marketing. Prior to joining Warner Music, Bergen held worked at several major record labels, including spells as Executive Vice President of Rock Music for Columbia Records, Executive Vice President of Island Records, and Vice President of Promotion for Epic Records. He began his career in the music industry in 1988, when he joined TVT Records, following which he was appointed Director for Promotion at Relativity Records. Bergen holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University.
info: Eric Levin (“Levin”) serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Warner Music, taking responsibility for the Company’s worldwide financial operations. Levin first joined the Company in 2014. Prior to joining Warner Music, Levin held a number of management and executive roles across Asia, primarily in China. This included spells as Regional Controller and Chief Executive Officer for Ecolab’s North Asia Region, and Chief Financial Officer at South China Morning Post Group. Levin also served previously as Chief Financial Officer at HBO, and was a founding partner at multimedia venture City On Demand. Levin holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.
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