UK Consumption of music rises


The success of UK acts, a surge in streaming and demand for physical formats fuelled a 9.5 per cent rise in music consumption in 2017.

Official data release by the BPI, the music labels' association, reported that 135.1 million albums or their equivalent were either streamed, purchased or downloaded in 2017. This represents a 9.5 per cent rise on 2016 and marks a third year of consecutive volume growth. 

68.1 billion audio streams were served – accounting for over half of UK music consumption.

The 2nd week in December also saw a new milestone of more than 1.5 billion audio streams delivered in a single week.

Sales of vinyl were up 26.8 per cent as unit sales hit 4m mark; LPs now account for almost 1 in 10 physical purchases.

Ed Sheeran enjoyed remarkable success across all formats and is joined by Rag‘n’Bone Man, Sam Smith, Little Mix, Stormzy, Dua Lipa and other Brits.

UK acts accounted for eight of the top-10 best-selling artist albums in 2017.

Sheeran's Divide was the year's most streamed, physically purchased (both on CD and LP) and downloaded album. The artist also claimed the year's biggest single with Shape of You, whilst his hit Perfect gave him his first Christmas No.1 single to round off a remarkable year. 

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards said: “Demand for music in the UK is growing fast, driven by brilliant British artists such as Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Rag‘n’Bone Man, Little Mix, Stormzy and Dua Lipa and the innovative music industry that supports them. 

“Whilst the rapid growth of streaming and resilient demand for physical formats gives us confidence for the future, it is important to remember that the music industry still has a long way to go to recover fully. Structural challenges must be overcome if long-term growth is to be sustained. First we must continue to fight the ‘Value Gap’5, so that all digital platforms pay fairly for their use of music.  Second, Government must ensure our musicians are able to tour freely even after we leave the EU. Finally, we should make the UK the best place to invest in new content by forging an online environment that is safe for consumers and where illegal sites cannot flourish.  If we do this, the future for British music, which is already one of our leading exports, will be very bright.”    

Separately, figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) showed that Brits spent more than £1.2bn on recorded music in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 9.6 per cent fuelled by the growth of streaming subscriptions.

People spent £577.1m on streaming subscriptions, up 41.9 per cent from 2016’s £406.6m. This more than outweighed a 3.4 per cent decline in physical sales to £459.4m and a 23.1 per cent decline in download sales to £165m in 2017.

ERA covers sales and subscriptions, so these figures do not include advertising revenues for music – for example ads on YouTube or on the free tiers of streaming services like Spotify – nor does it include sync, merchandise or live income.

The 9.6 per cent growth in 2017 is nearly double the increase in 2016 for consumer spending on recorded-music in the UK. While streaming is the big driver, ERA also noted a 33.7 per cent rise in vinyl sales to £87.7m.