In today’s “Which industry/country’s economy/company is going down the toilet?” column, I bring you news of Warner Music Group. It’s no shock that the recorded music industry isn’t doing too hot, but perhaps a few shareholders’ hands still reached to cover their genteel mouths and said “Dear me!” (shareholders are all clean-livin’, constantly fainting late-19th-century southern belles) when Warner announced two days ago that, despite high-profile releases from Kid Rock, Josh Groban, and Michael Bublé, the company lost $18 million over the last three months of 2010.
The loss comes as a result of WMG’s declining stock value. Values fell $0.12 during the period, and the company’s revenue fell 14% from what it had been the year before. It’s a complicated mix over there at Warner; although many of the company’s tribulations can be attributed to the overall decline of the music industry, WMG’s special trials also arise from the fact that it is the only major music group that’s publicly traded and accountable to shareholders. In an effort to to prevent further losses, WMG hired Goldman Sachs last month to find potential buyers for either Warner/Chappell, its publishing arm, or for the entire company.