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U.K. STATS AND TRENDS IN 2019

The BPI’s annual All About The Music yearbook for 2019 reveals a number of illuminating figures about the British music market. Read on for the rise of homegrown hip-hop and rap, decline in artist album sales, and how U.K. artists fared at home and overseas.

In 2019, hip-hop/rap hit a record share in both singles and album consumption in the U.K., according to Official Charts Company data. In the singles market, releases from the genre counted for well over a fifth (21.5%) of all consumption—up from up from 20.9% in 2018 and 11% in 2015. In the artist albums market, which included a #1 album from Dave, releases helped claim a share of 11% last year, up from 9% in 2018 and 4% in 2015. In the five years from 2015 to 2019, U.K. artists’ share of rap sales and streams increased to 27% from 10% on albums and to 42% from 16% on singles. In 2019, the genre was second only in the singles share table behind pop (33%), and third in the albums table, behind rock (38%) and pop (28%).

Last year, purchases of artist albums decreased by 21%, with physical (-19%) holding up better than digital (-29%). Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent (Virgin EMI) was the only release to break the 300k sales mark. Compilations also experienced a steep decline. Just over 7m were bought in 2019, down 35% and less than a third of the tally recorded just five years previously. The decline in sales was steeper for digital titles (-39%) than physical (-35%) and compilations’ share of overall album purchasing fell to 21% in 2019, down from 24% in 2018. 

When it comes to British talent, there’s good news. After falling in 2018 to 42%, the share of artist album sales attributable to U.K. artists rose in 2019 to exactly match the same share as U.S. artists at 44%. Music made by artists from the U.S. comprised the largest share of singles consumption in 2019 at 43%, while British performers helped the U.K.’s share rise to 42% from 39%. Outside of the U.K., BPI analysis of the top 4,000 most-streamed tracks of 2019 found that music by British artists accounted for 10% of streaming (audio and video) consumption worldwide.

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