UK music industry consumption grew 2.5% in ’21, up from 8.2% in ’20

London, England, seen from Primrose Hill. Photo credit: [Duncan]

Total UK music industry streams reached 147 billion in 2021 – a 5.7% increase from 2020 – as streaming accounted for 83% of the market’s overall music consumption, according to recently released data from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

The 49-year-old music industry organization revealed these and other statistics in its just released Year-End Consumer Report, after shedding light on physical music sales at the UK in 2021 (including vinyl, which experienced its 14th consecutive year of national growth) last week.

Overall, the BPI said UK music consumption grew 2.5% year-over-year in 2021, to reach 159 million albums and album equivalents broadcast or purchased by fans. (Eight of the 10 best-selling albums of the year, with the exception of ABBA’s third album Trip and the fourth place of Olivia Rodrigo Sour, were published by British artists, according to the analysis.)

As part of this relatively modest consumption growth, UK-based fans have amassed 147 billion individual audio streams, as mentioned at the start, which is a 5.7% increase year-on-year and results in around 132 million streaming albums (also a 5.7% improvement).

For reference, the BPI in its end of year consumption report for 2020 reported that music consumption grew 8.2% year-over-year, reaching 155 million albums or album equivalents. Also in the 53-week period (up from 52 weeks in the 2019 baseline), streaming accounted for 80.6% of UK music consumption, according to the breakdown. The 139 billion audio streams of 2020 represented a gain of 22% compared to 2019.

The growing (but relatively low) streaming volume of 2021 for the UK music industry could suggest that a wider plateau is approaching, and it will be worth seeing how the US music industry’s own streaming market has fared. featured throughout 2021.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in its 2021 semi-annual report said domestic streaming revenue reached $ 5.9 billion, up 26% year-on-year, to 84% of the first half of 2021 total. (The BPI will release 2021 revenue totals for the UK music industry later this year.)

The BPI’s 2021 report also found that 1,918 artists generated north of 10 million streams each in the UK (not counting world coins), up from 1,798 in 2020 and 1,537 in 2019. “This means that almost twice as many artists are now earning significant royalties than in the CD era.“the trade association wrote, further noting that only 1,092 artists had sold 10,000 CDs (the equivalent of 10 million streams) in 2007.

Of course, that emphasis – along with the idea that growth within the UK music industry is ‘fueled by investment from record companies‘ – comes as the Markets and Competition Authority (CMA ) is carrying out an “investigation into music streaming”, following an investigation and report by a parliamentary committee.

Alice P. Darby