LONDON: The music industry in the UK is booming, fuelled by a huge rise in streaming services and a strong revival in vinyl sales, the latest industry figures have shown.
According to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the trade body, music consumption increased 1.5% in 2016 to 123m albums or their equivalent, whether streamed, bought in physical format or downloaded.
That equated to an estimated retail value of about £1bn in 2016 and included 3.2m sales of vinyl records, a rise of 53% on the previous year and the highest annual total since 1991, when Simply Red's Stars was the best-selling LP.
Vinyl's ongoing recovery in the UK is a far cry from the low point of 2007, when just over 200,000 LPs were purchased, the BPI said, as it noted that vinyl LPs now account for nearly 5% of the albums market.
But the massive growth in music streaming was one of the key findings in the BPI report, which revealed that 45bn audio streams were served in 2016, up more than two-thirds (68%) on 2015 – or 500% since 2013.
As a result of this dramatic increase, the BPI said audio streaming now accounts for more than a third (36.4%) of all UK music consumption, which works out at well over 1,500 audio streams for each of the UK's 27m households.
Furthermore, December 2016 saw the milestone of 1bn audio streams in a single week for the first time, which the BPI said underlined the growing ascendancy of streams as the format of choice for many fans.
"Growth in UK music consumption in 2016 was fuelled by the explosive rise in audio streaming, which has increased 500% since 2013, and relative resilience from physical formats," said Geoff Taylor, BPI’s Chief Executive.
"Led by sales of David Bowie, demand for vinyl jumped to levels not seen since the start of the Nineties, and fans also bought and collected music on CD that they are discovering and enjoying through streaming services in ever larger numbers.
"We believe this performance is indicative of the promise of a new era for music, where recorded music's investments in a digital future fuel compelling benefits for fans, artists and the entire music ecosystem."
Data sourced from BPI; additional content by Warc staff