Another label sees big digital-music growth

Warner Music Group beats Wall Street expectations as digital sales grew 27.5 percent over the past quarter.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval

Warner Music Group, the label that represents such acts as REM and Green Day, is the second major recording company to report healthy growth in digital sales during the past quarter.

On Tuesday, Warner reported that digital sales in the quarter ended September 30 grew 27 percent to $167 million, up from $131 million during the same period last year.

Warner also beat Wall Street expectations by reporting earnings of $6 million or 4 cents per share on revenue of $854 million. Analysts had expected to a loss of 2 cents per share on $837 million in revenue.

Two weeks ago, Universal Music Group, the largest of the four top labels, said digital music sales were up 33 percent for the first nine months of 2008. According to parent company Vivendi, this "more than offset lower physical sales."

Ever since the onset of digital music and the creation of file-sharing sites, such as Napster, the major music companies have slowly been forced to shift from physical CD sales to digital downloads. It appears now that digital revenue is making up for some of the losses in disc sales.

One big question is how much will it make up?