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U.K. MUSIC CONSUMPTION UP 8.2% IN 2020

Recorded-music consumption in the U.K. has risen for a sixth consecutive year, up 8.2% in 2020 thanks to a 22% rise in streaming, according to record label association BPI. Streaming now accounts for an 80.6% share of music consumption.

Official Charts Company data shows that 155m albums or their equivalent were streamed or purchased in 2020, with audio streams reaching 139b. The year's top 10 streaming artists each achieved more than 500m streams in the U.K. alone, and nearly 200 artists were streamed more than 100m times.

The increase in consumption was achieved despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While demand initially dipped around the start of the first lockdown, listening rebounded across streaming and physical formats, and grew throughout the year. 

CD sales declined 31.7% to represent 10.3% of recorded-music consumption and digital albums were down by 19% to 3.7%. Vinyl rose 11.5% to account for 3% of consumption, while cassette sales almost doubled (94.7%) to a 0.2% share, reaching the format's highest total sales since 2003. Track equivalent album sales—a calculation used for the sale of music downloads or singles—dipped 22.2% to 3.2m (2% of the total consumption pie). 

Despite this decrease, physical still makes up a large portion of sales for #1 albums; the majority of weeks (28) in 2020, the format was responsible for 50% of chart-eligible sales of the Official Charts #1 artist album. 

Eight of the best-selling artists on the album format were British, led by Lewis CapaldiHarry Styles and Dua Lipa. Just two albums on the list were released in 2020 (Lipa and Pop Smoke).

Top 10 U.K. Albums 2020

  1. Lewis Capaldi Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent (EMI)
  2. Harry Styles Fine Line (Columbia
  3. Dua Lipa Future Nostalgia (Warner Records)
  4. Billie Eilish When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (Interscope/Polydor)
  5. Stormzy Heavy Is the Head (Atlantic/Merky)
  6. Pop Smoke Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon (Republic/Polydor)
  7. Ed Sheeran No. 6 Collaborations Project (Atlantic)
  8. Queen Greatest Hits (EMI)
  9. Elton John Diamonds (UMC)
  10. Fleetwood Mac 50 Years–Don’t Stop (Rhino)

Top 10 U.K. singles 2020

  1. The Weeknd “Blinding Lights” (Republic/Island)
  2. Tones & I “Dance Monkey” (Parlophone)
  3. Saint Jhn “Roses” (Hitco/Ministry of Sound)
  4. Lewis Capaldi “Before You Go” (EMI)
  5. Joel Corry f/MNEK “Head & Heart” (Atlantic)
  6. Dua Lipa “Don’t Start Now” (Warner Records)
  7. DaBaby f/Roddy Ricch “Rockstar” (Interscope/Polydor)
  8. Lewis Capaldi “Someone You Loved” (EMI)  
  9. Stormzy/Ed Sheeran/Burna Boy “Own It” (Atlantic)
  10. Harry Styles “Watermelon Sugar” (Columbia)
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