Major label boss claims streaming revenue now higher than income from downloads

Warner Music's Stephen Cooper warns rival companies to keep free-tier streaming

The head of major label Warner Music has claimed that the company makes more money from streaming than it does through legal downloads.

According to The Guardian, latest financial figures saw a 33 per cent increase in streaming income for the label, overtaking download revenue for the first time. This helped Warner’s revenues grow 4 per cent year-on-year to a total of £432 million ($677 million), with a record net profit of £12 million ($19 million).

The company’s chief executive Stephen Cooper said of the news: “The rate of this growth has made it abundantly clear to us that in years to come, streaming will be the way that most people enjoy music. Not only that, we are also confident that streaming’s ongoing expansion will return the industry to sustainable, long-term growth.”

Cooper continued to urge rival imprints to “think very carefully” about seeking an end of free-tier streaming, following reports that Apple are pressuring major labels to not renew their licenses with the likes of Spotify and YouTube. The tech giant is reportedly being investigated by authorities for alleged unethical practices following the claims.

“There are any number of models out there, and all of those models – ad-based, subscription-based or with both – are better than piracy,” Cooper said, before he continued” “With respect to going to a strictly subscription world, I think that you can find evidence that when music is not generally available, people will seek out sites on the internet that will offer up that music for no charges, and in many instances, with no economic model.

“Before people conclude that freemium should be burnt at the stake, we should think very carefully about the consequences.”

It was previously reported that Apple are developing a new music streaming service to rival Spotify and Tidal, with the product set to be launched at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June.