Warner Music Loss Narrows Amid Improved Sales

Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) said Monday that a weak dollar and improved sales of digital music helped narrow its second-quarter loss.

Issuing its first quarterly report as a public firm, Warner Music, whose Elektra, Atlantic and Reprise record labels are home to artists such as Green Day (search), Linkin Park (search) and Madonna (search), posted a loss of $35 million, or 28 cents per share, compared with a $48 million deficit the year before. Per-share figures for last year's quarter were not provided.

Total revenue grew 4 percent to $767 million, with revenue from its recorded music unit rising 5 percent to $621 million. Segment results included an $18 million boost from favorable exchange rates and $31 million in digital sales that were offset by a $30 million drop in worldwide CD sales, the company said.

Meanwhile, Warner Music's music publishing business saw revenue increase 3 percent to $154 million on greater performance royalties and $4 million in digital music sales.

The company added that its operating income amounted to $27 million, up from an operating loss of $21 million a year ago. Operating income before depreciation and amortization soared about 83 percent to $88 million, or $95 million excluding accounting charges.

Warner Music, which boasts other headlining acts like Kid Rock, Rob Thomas and Missy Elliott, was purchased last year by Edgar J. Bronfman Jr. (search) and a group of investors for $2.6 billion. Following the takeover, Bronfman led a major turnaround at Warner Music, consolidating labels, slashing artist rolls, ousting executives and laying off more than 1,000 workers.

Until recently, Warner Music's stock traded as much as 12 percent below its initial public offering at $17 in early May. The deal priced well below estimates of $22 to $24 amid negative investor response and criticism from Linkin Park, the company's top musical act.