The UK music market is up by 11% year on year at this mid point stage according to figures from The BPI and Official Charts Company (OCC).
Reading between the charts and graphs, this can primarily be contributed to a few factors:
1) That third album from Ed Sheeran, a pop star who is so ubiquitous that you can’t even catch up on Game of Thrones without seeing him singing around a campfire. Sheeran has smashed so many sales and streaming records (and then smashed his own records) that it seems meaningless reeling them off here. The album ÷ has clocked up two million Album Equivalent Sales (AES), and the single Shape Of You is currently the UK’s most streamed song ever with over 184 million plays. This contributed to Sheeran’s label Atlantic leading the label pack and taking 9.6% of market share in the first six months of 2017.
2) Streaming- the combined figures for the first two quarters of 2017 show that AES jumped to 63,867,380 units in H1, up 11.6% on 2016. Stream equivalent albums increased by 53.2% and streams surged past the 30m mark for the half year for a total of 31,848,269,600. It is happening.
3) Strangely, the persistence of physical. The Gen always smells a rat when a label executive comes out staunchly defending the resilience of CDs but don’t discount the Tesco crowd (or rather do, and sell more shiny discs). CD sales from the likes of Take That, Sheeran and Rag’N’Bone Man resulted in an overall decline of under 4% for the format. CD albums dropped 6.4%, while vinyl again rose 32.2% but don’t forget- vinyl is a good news story but a tiny part of the overall market. Don’t believe the hype. Elsewhere, digital downloads are dead in the water- sales of digital albums are down by 24.1%, while track equivalent albums fell 23.5%. It looks like downloads are headed out to pasture before CDs, a notion that would have been laughed at a few years ago as we ushered in a shiny new digital future but struggled with the idea of letting go of ownership- a ship that has long sailed on the streaming seas.
Find out more at the OCC website.
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