Growth of UK recorded music market slows amid pandemic

Streaming helped offset a fall in CD sales.

The UK recorded music market’s growth slowed in 2020 as consumption was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Revenue rose by 3.8% to reach £1.118 billion – the highest total since 2006 and the fifth consecutive year of growth.

However, figures from record labels association the BPI indicate a slowing of revenue growth compared to 2019, when the market grew by 7.3%.

National Album Day
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Streaming fuelled much of the total growth, increasing 15.4% to £736.5 million, offsetting part of the damage caused by the pandemic.

Physical revenue decreased by 2.6% to £210.3 million, although independent shops and specialist chains were supported during lockdown by customers who moved their purchases online.

Vinyl continued its resurgence, increasing by nearly a third (30.5%) to £86.5 million, the highest total since 1989.

This helped to balance a drop in CD sales, which fell by 18.5%.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI and the Brit Awards, said: “The lockdowns inevitably affected financial results in 2020 but, unlike other parts of our industry which were hit very hard, the seamless connectivity of streaming and the enduring love of vinyl meant that recorded music was relatively insulated from its worst effects, and was still able to post growth.

“The ongoing increase in paid subscription streaming fuelled labels’ ability to continue investing in artists.

“The safe and rapid reopening of live venues is the music community’s critical first priority, but the resilience of recorded music demonstrates the important role it plays in people’s lives even in the midst of the Covid pandemic.”

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