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Blighty Beat
STREAMING HITS A HIGH NOTE IN BLIGHTY
1/5/16

The U.K.’s music market grew 3.5% last year to £1.058 billion, with a surprising caveat; it wasn’t Adele’s 25 (XL/Beggars) that did it. Instead, a gargantuan rise in the use of streaming services was to blame, where 25 is noticeably absent. According to research from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), physical and downloads declined slightly (down 0.5% and 13.2% respectively), while streaming contributed £251m, up 49.7% YoY.

Sales of music in physical formats garnered £514m and digital downloads £293m. Of that £514m, CDs made up £468m, down 3.7%. While physical and digital declined at a slower rate than in previous years, how those figures would look if you took away 25’s 2.6m sales is the real question. To give an idea of the marketshare Adele will have had in Blighty in 2015, the second biggest-selling album of the year, Ed Sheeran’s x (Atlantic), sold 37% of the amount 25 shifted at 971k.

Elsewhere, vinyl album sales are still doing exceptionally well, up 65% on 2014 to £42m, but remain a niche taste, accounting for just 6% of the album market.

The Top 20 entertainment titles featured six music releases amongst games and videos. 25 was naturally #1, Sheeran's x at #9, Capitol’s Sam Smith at #11 with debut In the Lonely Hour, huge Sony release If I Can Dream by Elvis Presley at #12, Sony/Universal compilation Now That’s What I Call Music 92 at #14 and number 90 from the same series at #17.

It’s very good news for U.K. retail overall, as games, video and music combined reached an all-time high of £6.1 billion in 2015, shrugging off a decade of decline.

Said ERA CEO Kim Bayley: “Ten years ago, the entertainment business was on the edge of a precipice. Piracy was rampant and there were few legal alternatives. Thanks to huge investments by the likes of Apple and Steam and Netflix and Spotify, there has been a significant turnaround. From indie record stores to video on demand, from High Street chains to streaming services, Internet retail and supermarkets, there has never been such a wide variety of ways for people to get the music, video and games they want.”

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