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Warner hits huge streaming milestone ahead of Apple Beats relaunch

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Warner Music Group brought in more revenue from streaming services like Spotify than from downloads in the last financial quarter, the label has announced.

In what is believed to be the first time a major label as achieved such a landmark, Warner says streaming was up to 33 per cent of revenue, eclipsing income from downloads.

Digital revenue only grew by 7 per cent overall, as Recode points out, which means download sales from portals like iTunes had fallen during the three month period.

The rate of this growth has made it abundantly clear that in years to come, streaming will be the way that most people enjoy music,” said Warner CEO Stephen Cooper during an earnings call.

“We’ll continue to collaborate with our streaming partners to expand their businesses, and more importantly, to ensure that copyright owners, artists and songwriters receive appropriate value for their work.”

The streaming boost also saw Warner return to profit, putting it $18m in the black for the period, compared with a $60m shortcoming during the same time in 2014.

The landmark is a timely one, with Apple likely to announce its own music streaming service in the next few weeks.

The relaunched Beats Music platform - likely to sit under the iTunes banner - will represent the first time Apple has gone after the likes of Spotify with a fully-fledged streaming service.

iTunes downloads have been ebbing away in recent years as more and more users move towards a streaming-only solution.

Read more: Apple Beats Relaunch: The story so far

Apple is said to be leaning on companies like Warner to withdraw free access to their catalogues in order to push consumers towards premium subscription models.

Record labels themselves are said to be in favour of this strategy, although it’s unclear yet whether Apple has come to an accord with any of the major rights holders for its forthcoming service.

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