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Record Streaming Revenue and Vinyl’s Appeal Help Drive UK Music Sales Back to 2001 Levels

Mr. Nimbus | 01/09/2024

LONDON — Paid-for streaming revenues grew to a record high of £1.86 billion ($2.4 billion) in the United Kingdom last year, helping drive a 9.6% rise in overall music spending, according to year-end figures from the Digital Entertainment and Retail Association (ERA).

In 2023, British music fans spent a total of £2.2 billion ($2.8 billion) on music purchases via subscriptions to music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, and vinyl and CD purchases. That’s more-or-less equal to 2001’s total, the historic peak of the CD era, when U.K. music sales stood at just over £2.2 billion, reports ERA. When compared to 2019, the last full year pre-pandemic, music sales have climbed by almost 39% in the space of four years.

Driving the growth was a 9.8% year-on-year rise in subscription streaming revenues, while spending on physical formats was up 10.9% to £311 million ($395 million) the London-based organization says in its preliminary annual figures published on Tuesday (Jan. 9).

Breaking down physical music revenues, vinyl album sales grew 18% to £177 million with Taylor Swift’s 1989 (Taylor’s Version), The Rolling StonesHackney Diamonds and Lana Del Rey’s Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd among the year’s best-selling titles.

Despite CD sales falling 7% year-on-year in volume terms to 10.8 million units, revenue from the long-written-off format actually rose 2% in 2023 to £126 million ($160 million), marking the first increase in CD revenue in two decades.

ERA says the growth can be attributed to the format’s continued popularity among dedicated music fans, keen to buy their favorite artists in multiple and deluxe formats, as well as a rise in the number of Gen Z and Millennials buying CDs.

This Life by British pop group Take That was 2023’s top CD album in the U.K. with just over 127,000 units sold. Swift’s 1989 (Taylor’s Version) was the year’s second most popular CD release.

Streaming now makes up more than 88% of all music sales in the U.K., compared to 64% five years ago, with physical formats accounting for 9.4% of today’s market, according to labels trade body BPI, which released its year-end listening figures last week.

BPI reports that more than 179 billion music tracks were streamed in the U.K. in 2023, up 12.8% on the previous year’s total, with the equivalent of 182.8 million albums streamed or purchased in 2023 across digital and physical formats, up 10% on the previous 12 months.

In a statement, ERA CEO Kim Bayley said the year-end figures represented a “red letter day” for the U.K. music industry with the rise in revenues “a testament not just to the creativity of artists, but to the entrepreneurial drive of digital services and retailers.”

Although both ERA and BPI use Official Charts Company sales data as the basis for their reporting, the two organizations take different approaches to measuring the health of the recorded music business. ERA’s figures are based on retail spending in the U.K., whereas BPI’s measure music consumption levels. (ERA’s subscription streaming numbers are estimates based on information provided by digital services and label trade income reported to BPI). BPI and ERA are both due to publish their full annual reports later in the year.

Overall, revenues across the U.K. entertainment market – comprising of music, video and games retail sales – were up 7% on 2022’s total to a record high of £11.9 billion ($15.1 billion), marking the eleventh successive year of growth. Streaming and digital services accounted for almost 92% of entertainment revenue, reports ERA.

Of the three sectors, recorded music sales are in third place, trailing both games and video (comprising of video-on-demand subscription services such as Netflix and DVD sales), which totaled £4.7 billion ($6 billion) and £4.9 billion ($6.2 billion) respectively.

The U.K. is the world’s third biggest recorded music market behind the U.S. and Japan with sales of just under $1.7 billion in trade value, according to IFPI’s 2023 Global Music Report.

This post was originally published on this site

Written by Mr. Nimbus

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