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Music consumption in the UK grew for the fourth consecutive year

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British industry bodies the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) and ERA (Entertainment Retailers’ Association) have published figures showing how the UK’s recorded-music market grew in 2018.

According to official figures released by the BPI today, UK music consumption across all formats grew for a fourth consecutive year.

Based on Official Charts Company data, combined UK sales and streams of recorded music have now grown by over 22% since 2014. A total of 142.9 mn albums or their equivalent were either streamed, purchased on physical format or downloaded over the past 12 months conforming to a 5.7% rise on the 2017 135.1 mn figure and an estimated retail value of £1.33 bn.

This growth, up 8.9% year-on-year, was driven by an impressive 37.7% rise in subscription streaming revenues, which hit £829.1 mn last year, according to preliminary data from the ERA.

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According to new BPI data, total yearly UK album unit sales (across CD, vinyl and download) dropped by a huge 13.2 mn (-22.1%) in 2018. That’s a steeper annual album sales decline than the equivalent drop seen in 2017 (-9.1 mn), 2016 (-12.8 mn), 2015 (-5.4 mn), 2014 (-7.1 mn) or 2013 (-6.3 mn).

“Complemented by collectible physical formats on vinyl, cd and super deluxe box sets, streaming services are enabling more people to discover, enjoy and instantly share music they love.” Said Geoff Taylor, BPI (Company official).

UK album download unit sales were down 26.3% to just 10.2 mn in 2018, while CD sales fell 23.1% to 32 mn. And to cap it off, the vinyl revival appears to be losing its shine: after a decade of growth, UK vinyl album sales grew by just 1.6% last year to 4.2 mn. On a value basis, physical music sales were down 16.6% to £383.2 mn last year, according to ERA.

The rise in the overall UK market all thanks to streaming meant that recorded music enjoyed its fourth successive year of growth in 2018. The UK music sector is now 30% bigger than it was at its 2014 low-point of £1.03 bn, but it is still far off its 2001 peak of £2.11 bn.

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said,

“Streaming services were once again the star performers in the UK music market in 2018, but the continuing strength of physical sales at the top end of the chart means that unless you are a hip-hop artist, the only way to have a really big album is to generate CD sales as well as streams.”

The year’s Top 10 artist albums also featured Abba’s songs in the Cast Recording of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (No.4), and tracks by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in the Cast Recording of A Star Is Born (No.7). Queen’s catalog was also highlighted as benefiting from the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic, with the film’s Original Soundtrack (No.13) appearing in the Top 50 with The Platinum Collection and Greatest Hits.

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“Streaming services were once again the star performers in the UK music market in 2018, but the continuing strength of physical sales at the top end of the chart means that unless you are a hip-hop artist, the only way to have a really big album is to generate CD sales as well as streams,” said Bayley.

The UK saw 91 bn audio streams served through Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and other audio streaming services in 2018, according to the BPI. This represented a 33.5% rise in 2017.

 

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Abhishek Singh

Author: Abhishek Singh

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