BPI Reports U.K. Streaming Doubles In 2014, British Artists Lead The Way
January 2, 2015 at 12:48 PM (PT)
BRITISH breakthough acts ED SHEERAN and SAM SMITH, along with a surge in streaming, helped deliver another £1 billion-plus year for the U.K. recorded music business, according to the annual reports delivered by the BRITISH PHONOGRAPHIC INDUSTRY (BPI).
Nearly 15 billion songs were streamed as digital now accounts for over half (51%) of UK music consumption, compared to 7.5 billion in 2013.
The entire U.K. Top 10 albums come from home-grown talent – the strongest performance by British artists since Official Charts records began.
Two albums, ED SHEERAN's ‘x’ (1.7m) and SAM SMITH’s ‘In The Lonely Hour’ (1.25m), achieved well over 1m unit sales during the past 12 months, a feat no artist album achieved in 2013. SHEERAN’s sales are the highest since ADELE’s "21" in 2011.
Four of the top 5 most streamed artists in 2014 and seven out of the top 10 were BRITISH.
A total of 14.8bn audio streams, 560 for every UK household, accounted for 12.6% of the music consumed in 2014 and 17% of retail music spend. Just as in the U.S., the vinyl revival continues as unit sales reach the 1.3 million mark for first time since 1995. PINK FLOYD’s "The Endless River" is the year’s biggest seller, ahead of ARCTIC MONKEYS and ROYAL BLOOD.
Added BPI Chief Executive GEOFF TAYLOR: “The remarkable success of BRITISH artists in 2014 is exciting news for the future. Our record labels are backing home-grown talent like ED SHEERAN, SAM SMITH and GEORGE EZRA, who in turn are catching fire around the world.
“With major new premium services from APPLE and YOUTUBE set to boost subscription streaming even further in 2015, we believe the U.K.’s world-leading music industry is strongly positioned for future expansion.”
Having peaked in 2013, demand for digital download albums appears to be maturing as some consumers switch to streaming. In 2014 just under 30m albums were downloaded – down from 32.6m a year ago, though still the third-highest all-time figure, and still representing over a third (34.2%) of all album sales in the UK.
Vinyl LP album sales are now at their highest level since 1995, although it should be noted that this remains a niche format, accounting for less than 2% of the total recorded music market. Vinyl albums went through the million mark in November and by the end of 2014, boosted by CHRISTMAS gifting, very nearly 1.3m copies had been sold.
The volume of CD album sales in 2014 stood at 55.7m, down by 7.9% year-on-year; together, CD and vinyl still accounted for 49% of all Album Equivalent Sales (AES) in 2014.
Outoing BPI Chairman TONY WADSWORTH, who left his post at the end of 2014, commented: “The U.K. recorded music industry invests in a truly global business, as labels continue to find, develop, support and succeed with world class artists making world-class music. Record labels are also at the forefront of the transformation of the creative economy, and our businesses are starting to see sustained growth in a future which benefits creators and consumers alike.”
SPOTIFY Head of Label Relations EUROPE KEVIN BROWN added: “2014 has been a year in which streaming has truly become mainstream in the U.K., as proven by the billions of streams by music fans on SPOTIFY in the U.K. this year. We expect streaming to go from strength to strength in 2015, as more music fans discover how easy it is to enjoy a whole world of music on demand, and also as we support a new swathe of exciting young artists break through and build new audiences on SPOTIFY in the months ahead.”