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BPI: Sales Away

According to the recently published BPI’s Music Market 2016 yearbook, British artists’ share of domestic album sales reached an 18-year high in 2015, hitting 54.7% making up seven of the top 10 annual best-sellers in the Official Charts.

Exports to key markets around the world also grew, as UK acts, primarily led by the success of Adele’s 25, with a 17.1 per cent share of the global albums market – equivalent to around one in every six artist albums sold worldwide.

However, those awaiting the punchline need not wait too long – total industry revenues including performance rights grew by only 0.6% in 2015, with income from sales and streaming of recorded music, including the share that can be passed on to artists, dipping by 0.9% to £688 million.

According to the BPI, this can be attributed to ad-supported platforms such as YouTube, with CEO Geoff Taylor stating: “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”.

There was no safe harbor for YouTube from Taylor’s tirade and he continued: “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”.

This follows the news that vinyl sales are bigger than YouTube for British artists, generating £25.1m on sales of 2.1m in 2015, in comparison to £24.4m on 27bn music video streams on YouTube.

Also according to the data from the BPI, streams accounted for over a quarter (27.3%) of the UK’s chart-eligible album ‘sales’ in 2015, with streaming also as the dominant format in the Official Singles Chart, with two thirds (66.4%) of chart eligible sales last year, as reported here by Music Business Worldwide.

Find out more about the BPI yearbook here.

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