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STREAMING BREAKS MORE U.K. RECORDS IN '19

Music consumption in the U.K. rose by 7.5% in 2019 with streaming now counting for 74.4% of album equivalent sales (AES) after rising 26%, according to stats released by the BPI. Streaming now represents almost the same share as physical did in 2010.

Last year was the fifth consecutive year of growth in the consumption of recorded music in the U.K. with the equivalent of 154m albums streamed, bought or downloaded. December saw the highest weekly total of streams—2.7b—ever recorded. The 2019 total of 114b plays on audio streaming services marks the first time the 100b landmark has been surpassed in a single year.

“Strong demand for streaming music and vinyl, fueled by the investment and innovation of U.K. labels in discovering and promoting new talent, boosted music consumption to levels not seen for 15 years,” BPI & BRIT Awards Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said. 

Taylor had a warning that more needs to be done to continue the growth streak and get revenue into the hands of artists. "The full benefits of this growth can only be unlocked if our new Government takes action to make the U.K. more competitive and encourage further investment, to require digital platforms to pay fairly for music and filter out illegal content, and to give all our schoolchildren the opportunity to play an instrument and discover the joy of making music.”

CD and digital albums fell by just over 25% (26.5% and 28.2% respectively) to count for an 18.2% (CD) and 4.8% (digital) share of the consumption pie. Physical sales still make up a large proportion of sales for #1 albums—in the majority of weeks (29) in 2019, physical counted for more than half (50%+) of chart-eligible sales for the Official Charts #1 artist album. In the last quarter of 2019, there were 13 consecutive weeks where physical represented for the majority of chart-eligible sales, accounting for more than 75% in 12 of those weeks. 

Vinyl LP sales rose for a 12th consecutive year by 4.1% to hit 4.3m, while cassette sales reached the biggest annual total in 15 years with 80k sold in 2019. (It remains just a fraction of total consumption at 0.1%). 

Best-sellers pumping the figures include Virgin EMI signing Lewis Capaldi, whose “Someone You Loved” was the most streamed track of 2019 with over 228m plays and 2.3m overall sales. His debut, Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent, shifted 640k copies, including 250k physical sales.

Other artists making the year-end singles top 10 include Lil Nas XEd SheeranStormzy, Billie Eilish and Tones and I. The most popular 17 tracks were all played more than 100m times each.

Alongside Capaldi’s debut, the top 10 Official Albums Chart for the year includes new albums by Sheeran,  Eilish, Ariana Grande and BRITs British Breakthrough act Tom Walker. British artists dominated the album charts, occupying six out of the top 10 year-end places.

The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) will publish annual retail revenue figures on Friday, and the BPI will follow with recorded music revenue figures in the early part of 2020.

Chart figures are supplied and copyrighted by the Official Charts Co.

Official Artist Albums Chart 2019

  1. Lewis CapaldiDivinely Uninspired To Hellish Extent (Virgin EMI)
  2. Ed Sheeran No. 6 Collaborations Project (Atlantic)
  3. The Greatest ShowmanSoundtrack (Atlantic)
  4. Billie Eilish When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?(Polydor)
  5. George Ezra Staying At Tamara’s (Columbia)                    
  6. Queen Bohemian Rhapsody OST (Virgin EMI)                
  7. Ariana GrandeThank U Next (Island)
  8. Tom Walker What A Time To Be Alive (Relentless)
  9. A Star Is Born Soundtrack (Polydor)
  10. Rod StewartYou’re In My Heart (Rhino)

Official Singles Chart 2019

  1. Lewis Capaldi “Someone You Loved” (Virgin EMI)                           
  2. Lil Nas X “Old Town Road” (RCA)
  3. Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber “I Don’t Care” (Atlantic/Virgin EMI) 
  4. Billie Eilish “Bad Guy” (Polydor)
  5. Calvin Harris & Rag’n’Bone Man “Giant” (Columbia)
  6. Ava Max “Sweet But Psycho” (Atlantic)
  7. Stormzy “Vossi Bop” (Atlantic/Merky)
  8. Tones and I “Dance Monkey” (Parlophone)
  9. Mabel “Don’t Call Me Up” (Polydor)
  10. Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello “Senorita” (Syco/Virgin EMI)
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