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MUSIC RETAIL SPEND UP 8.7% IN 2021
1/5/22

Retail spending on music in the U.K. grew by 8.7% in 2021, according to preliminary figures from the Entertainment Retailers’ Association (ERA). The growth was powered by subscription streaming services.

The stat, which marks a ninth successive year of growth, represents a total spend of £1.677b. Spending on streaming rose 10.9% to £1.331b or 79% of the total sales figure—more than the entire value of U.K. recorded music sales as recently as 2018.

Vinyl album sales grew by 23.2% to reach £135.6m or 8% of the total. That helped power overall physical growth of 7.3% to £291.5m, buoying a 3.9% dip in CD album sales (which now count for 9% of the total at £150.1m). Downloads experienced the greatest decline, down 23.8% to £55m or 3.2% of total sales revenue.

Last year, music retail grew 6.8% to hit £1.55b with streaming up 15.5%. 

ERA’s Kim Bayley attributed the continued growth to new releases as well as “innovation and investment” from streaming services. She also noted the “doggedness and resilience” of physical retailers, “led by the indies, who have driven the vinyl revival in the face of some initial skepticism.”

The U.K.’s entertainment market, which encompasses music as well as video and games, could break the £10b sales barrier this year with revenues up nearly a quarter from the £9.716b registered in the last pre-pandemic year, 2019. Despite the challenging circumstances, the sector still experienced year-on-year growth of 4.6% in 2021.