Entertainment

UK record labels see fastest growth since Britpop as streaming booms

The increase is driven by a 45% leap in streaming subscriptions.

Record labels in the UK have seen their fastest rate of trade income growth since Britpop ruled the charts, new figures show.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI)’s annual yearbook, All About The Music 2018, reveals UK record company trade income rising by 10.6% in 2017 to stand at £839.4 million – a return to pre-2010 levels.

The increase is driven by a a 45% leap in streaming subscriptions as the likes of Spotify continue to attract customers as well as the ongoing vinyl revival which is now a fifth of the size of the CD market.

Brit Awards 2018 – Show – London
Ed Sheeran (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

It is the fastest rate increase since 1995 when Blur, Oasis and Pulp were exciting fans and comes off the back of a boom in success of British artists.

The rate could have been even faster, the BPI argued, if the so-called value gap was closed.

The value gap refers to the distortion that allows user-upload platforms to pay lower royalties than competing digital services.

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor warned of a “long way” for the industry to recover fully and called on the government to ensure British musicians can tour freely once Brexit is complete.

The popularity of established artists such as Ed Sheeran, Little Mix and Sam Smith combined with breakthrough stars Stormzy, Dua Lipa and Rag’n’Bone Man boosted the revenues which are generated via sales, and streams of music and sync.

Stormzy (Joel Ryan/PA)
Stormzy (Joel Ryan/PA)

Revenues from streaming grew by 41% and the format now makes up nearly half of the industry’s turnover, with subscription the channel that added the most to the overall increase rising to £346.9 million.

Big sellers Sheeran’s Divide, Rag’N’Bone Man’s Human and Michael Ball and Alfie Boe’s second collaboration, Together Again, all helped the CD market.

Mr Taylor said: “While these are reasons for optimism, music still has a long way to go to recover fully and achieve long-term sustainable growth.

“In particular, government action is needed to remedy the continuing value gap, so that all digital platforms pay fairly for their use of music, and with the transition period following Brexit now agreed, it is vital that British musicians can tour freely in the EU once we leave.”

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