Sunday 11 December 2016

One out of every six albums sold globally by British musicians

Published 20/05/2016 | 00:06

One in six albums sold worldwide are by UK artists, according to new figures
One in six albums sold worldwide are by UK artists, according to new figures

The huge international success of British musicians including Adele, Sam Smith and One Direction means one in six albums sold worldwide are by UK artists, new figures show.

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Adele's latest album 25 broke first week sales records in the UK and US and helped acts from the UK secure a 17.1% share of international album sales.

It remains the world's best-selling album with 17.4 million copies sold in 2015, 2.5 million bought in Britain. Her success marks the eighth time in the last 11 years the global best-seller has come from the UK.

On home turf, British artists scored an 18-year-high, making up 55% of domestic album sales and seven of the top ten annual best sellers in the Official Charts.

Globally they account for half of the top ten biggest sellers, according to the British Phonographic Industry's (BPI) music market 2016 yearbook.

However, the figures came amid warnings that artists are not financially benefiting from the growing demand for their work.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI and the BRIT Awards, warned that the popularity of ad-supported platforms such as YouTube means a surge in popularity does not translate into increased revenues for the musician.

He said: "It is hugely encouraging that demand for British music is so strong at home and abroad thanks to our brilliant artists and the continual innovation and investment of our record labels.

"Yet the fact that sales revenues dipped in a record year for British music shows clearly that something is fundamentally broken in the music market, so that artists and the labels that invest in them no longer benefit fairly from growing demand.

"Instead, dominant tech platforms like YouTube are able to abuse liability protections as royalty havens, dictating terms so they can grab the value from music for themselves, at the expense of artists.

"The long-term consequences of this will be serious, reducing investment in new music, making it difficult for most artists to earn a living, and undermining the growth of more innovative services like Spotify and Apple Music that pay more fairly for the music they use."

Figures show that while music consumption in the UK rose by 3.7%, jumping to 12.9% when streaming of music videos is included, the total revenue including performance rights grew by just 0.6% in 2015, with income from sales and streaming dipping 0.9% to £688 million.

Revenue from ad-supported streaming platforms only contributed 4% of that total despite making up nearly a fifth of total music consumption.

Some £146.1 million came from audio streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer.

Mr Taylor added: "In 2015, UK fans streamed almost twice as many music videos as the year before; tens of billions more views. Yet artists and labels did not benefit from the increased demand for what they created. This is wrong. Music is precious - it's not a commodity to be strip-mined for big data.

"And as we've seen time and again in the digital market, where music goes first, the rest of the content sector will follow. This problem requires urgent action by the EU, and our Government needs to take the lead in making sure it is tackled."

The BPI's Music Market 2016 yearbook is an 88-page guide to the UK recorded music industry in numbers, with full analysis and detailed commentary on market trends based on Official Charts, IFPI, Kantar Worldpanel and other data.

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