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UK record label income enjoys third consecutive year of growth

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The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the UK record labels association, has published its annual yearbook All About The Music 2019. The yearbook came with the encouraging news that the UK record company trade income has leaped by over a fifth (+21.8%) following three years of consecutive growth since 2015.

The BPI found that paid subscription streams accounted for 54% of British labels’ income last year.  Revenue from these streams grew 34% over 2017 to £468 million ($614 million).

UK music industry’s revenues in 2018 of £865.5 million, reflecting streams and sales of music across all music formats combined with earnings from ‘sync’, rose 3.1 percent on the year, and now stand at their highest level since 2009, though they are still down on the £1.2 billion post-millennium peak year of 2001.  The revenue increase follows a 5.7 percent rise in music consumption across all formats, which the BPI reported earlier this year, and broadly translates into a retail value of £1.34 billion according to ERA.

“The recorded music industry in the UK is showing consistent growth, driven by investment in new talent, innovative global marketing, and offering music fans outstanding choice, convenience and value. Long-term growth depends on robust government action to tackle the value gap, promote investment, ensure online platforms take responsible action to reduce infringement, and secure the future talent pipeline by giving state school pupils the opportunity to discover and develop their talent,” said Geoff Taylor, BPI’s Chief Executive.

Streaming, CDs & Vinyls

Overall music streaming revenue grew to £516 million ($687 million).  Ad-funded streams (Spotify, Deezer, etc.) grew 25.8% to £19 million ($25 million).

Revenue from video streams (YouTube, Facebook, etc.) rose 9.9% to £29.7 million ($39 million). This represents just over half the amount generated by vinyl, which, for all its recent growth, remains something of a niche format, and further underlines the continuing problem of the Value Gap.

The BPI noted that YouTube delivered more than 30 billion streams in 2018: “This would have been greater still had video streaming platforms, predominantly YouTube, generated a great deal more than just £29.7 million in return for an estimated 30 billion-plus annual plays of music videos in the UK,” the organization stated.

CD sales plummeted 28.4% to £240.7 million ($316 million).  Downloads also saw a similarly sharp decline, falling 27.9% to £81.5 million ($107 million).  Sync licensing brought in £25.5 million ($33.5 million) in revenue.

Vinyl sales saw a slight 3.7% increase to £57.1 million ($75 million), nearly double that of video streams. Though, vinyl is still a small piece of the overall recording pie.  According to the BPI, overall revenue for 2018 grew 3.1% to £865.5 million ($1.1 billion), with vinyl comprising a 6.6% slice.

The BPI states that overall recording revenues have grown 20% for the British music industry in the past three years.  Yet, this number remains far from the peak growth the industry brought in 18 years ago – £1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) in 2001.

Also worth noting is that growth is clearly slowing year-over-year.  Unfortunately — or perhaps predictably — streaming’s hockey stick acceleration is slowing down, especially in major markets like the UK.

 

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