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Streaming Drives new ERA for Retail

The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) has published new stats showing that UK entertainment retail sales were up 6.4% in the first half of 2017, with the surprise twist being that music retail led the way with an 11.2% uplift year on year, driven by streaming subscriptions.

Overall, UK entertainment retail sales generated £2.9 billion in the first half of 2017, up 6.4% on the £2.8 billion generated during the first half of 2016.

Music sales were up 11.2% year-on-year, gaming 8.4% and video sales by 1.2%, even though video products account for many of the best selling individual releases so far this year. Music, typically considered to be the poorer cousin of other entertainment sectors, surpassed both

A couple of disclaimers to note: Firstly, some perspective- gaming accounts for almost half (just over 48%) of the entertainment retail market, with DVDs and online video products responsible for around a third of revenues and music just under 20%.

Secondly, it’s important to note that ERA’s stats include the retailer or streaming platforms’ cut of revenue, plus monies paid over to songwriters and music publishers and these are not generally included when the record industry reports digital income. So, it’s a good headline and a familiar and reassuring narrative but perhaps a slightly skewed picture. Still, enough gloom and doom- we’re up by over 10% so pop the champagne corks, start doing cartwheels through fields of vinyl (sales of which were up by over 37% in terms of revenue year-on-year) and have a celebratory quote shall we?

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said: “Entertainment has now seen over four years of continuous growth thanks to a combination of digital services pioneering new ways of consuming music, video and games, and physical retailers working hard to maximise sales of discs. To now deliver another £180m worth of sales in the first half of 2017 is really extraordinary”.

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