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U.K. MUSIC RETAIL MARKET RISES 9.6% IN 2017

The retail value of the U.K.’s music market rose 9.6% in 2017 to hit £1.2b ($1.63b) as income earned from streaming services soared 41.9% in value. Eight out of the Top 10 best-selling albums came from British artists, and three were solo debuts.

The bad news? Downloads dipped 23.1% and physical sales declined 3.4%.

The 9.6% rise is almost double that achieved the year prior, when the market tallied £1.108b, according to preliminary stats from the Entertainment Retailer’s Association. Growth in revenue earned from paid streaming subscription tiers (ad-supported streams aren’t counted) was behind the success, where income rose 41.9% to £577.1m ($784m) from £406.6m in 2016—exceeding the half-a-billion mark for the first time. In terms of monetary value, streaming now makes up 48% of the British music market. In 2016, when the format rose at a faster rate of 65%, that slice was 35%. 

When it comes to consumption, last year 68.1b audio streams were served through audio streaming services in the U.K. That reps a 51.5% rise on 2016, and a 1,740% increase since 2012. Streaming now accounts for over half (50.4%) of all domestic music consumption, and in December the market witnessed a new landmark of 1.5b audio streams in a single week.

In total, 135.1m albums or their equivalent were either streamed, purchased on a physical format, and/or downloaded over the past 12 months. That represents a 9.5% rise on 2016 and marks the third year of consecutive volume growth.  Back to monetary value, where physical is the second majority stakeholder with 38% of the market at £459.4m. While that’s down 3.4% on 2016, its rate of decline is slowing—from 2015 to 2016, cash earned from physical sales was down 7.3%. Downloads hold 14% of the market at £165m—down 23.1% on 2016. Again, the format’s rate of decline has slowed—from 2015 to 2016, the sector was down 26.8%. Vinyl continued its decade-long recovery last year, rising 33.7% to £87.7m with 4.1m LPs purchased in 2017, representing 3% of all music consumed.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards, praised the good news while issuing a few warnings. “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’, 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 U.K. 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.”   

In terms of best selling albums, the three debuts come from Rag’n’Bone Man (Columbia) at #2, Liam Gallagher (Warner Bros.) at #9 and Stormzy (#Merky) at #10. Returning acts include Ed Sheeran (Atlantic) at #1, followed by Sam Smith (Capitol) at #2, Little Mix (Syco) at #4 and Michael Ball& Alfie Boe (Decca) at #7. That’s a marked improvement on 2016 when no debuts released that year made the Top 10 and the Top 2 best sellers (from Adele and Coldplay) were released the year prior.  

 Top selling artist albums of 2017

  1. Ed Sheeran Divide (Atlantic Records)
  2. Rag’n’Bone Man Human (Columbia)   
  3. Sam Smith The Thrill Of It All (Capitol)
  4. Little Mix Glory Days (Syco)                                   
  5. P!nk Beautiful Trauma (RCA)
  6. Ed Sheeran (Atlantic)                                         
  7. Michael Ball & Alfie Boe Together Again (Decca)             
  8. Drake More Life (Island)      
  9. Liam Gallagher As You Were (Warner Bros.)
  10. Stormzy Gang Signs & Prayer (#Merky)

Top selling singles of 2017

  1. Ed Sheeran “Shape of You” (Atlantic)
  2. Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee f/Justin Bieber “Despacito (Remix)” (Polydor)
  3. Ed Sheeran “Castle On The Hill” (Atlantic)
  4. French Montana f/Swae Lee “Unforgettable” (Black Butter)
  5. Ed Sheeran “Galway Girl” (Atlantic)
  6. Ed Sheeran “Perfect” (Atlantic)
  7. Clean Bandit f/Zara Larsson “Symphony” (Atlantic)
  8. Rag’n’Bone Man “Human” (Columbia)  
  9. Chainsmokers & Coldplay “Something Just Like This” (Parlophone/RCA)
  10. Jax Jones f/Raye “You Don’t Know Me” (Polydor)

 

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