Warner Music Group (NYSE:WMG) is the world's third largest recorded music and music publishing company. Its major domestic record labels include Warner Bros. Records and The Atlantic Records Group. WMG's extensive recorded music catalog includes 28 of the top 100 U.S. best-selling albums of all time, (more than any other recorded music company), including the number one best-selling U.S. album of all time, The Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975. Signed artists range from Madonna to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Josh Groban to Missy Elliott, and R.E.M. to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The company earned $3.5 billion in revenue and $169 million in net income in 2009.
Despite these strengths, WMG's revenues have been flat over the past few years due to declining CD sales and illegal music downloading, two factors which have offset gains from increased digital sales. The company's future success will depend on how successfully it adapts to the "digitalization" of the music industry. In addition to selling audio and video content through iTunes and other online media distribution centers, WMG has signed deals with sites like YouTube to receive advertising revenue from its posted video content. The company has also expanded its relationship with cell phone providers in an effort to get its digital content to more wireless subscribers.
The "Big Four" account for 74% of all retail music sales globally.