News /
The UK music industry’s total streams reached 147 billion in 2021 – a 5.7 percent increase from 2020

British Recorded Music Industry Eeks a Modest 2021 Gain as 1,918 Artists Surpass 10 Million Domestic Streams

The Guardian, 2021

The 49-year-old music industry organization revealed these and other noteworthy stats in its just-published yearend consumption report, having shed light upon the 2021 UK sales of physical music (including vinyl, which enjoyed its 14th consecutive year of domestic growth) last week.

Overall, the BPI said that UK music consumption grew 2.5 percent year over year in 2021, to 159 million albums and album equivalents streamed or purchased by fans. (Eight of the 10 best-selling albums on the year, excepting ABBA’s third-ranked Voyage and Olivia Rodrigo’s fourth-ranked Sour, were released by UK artists, per the analysis.)

2021’s increasing (but comparatively small) streaming volume for the UK music industry could suggest that a wider plateau is approaching, and it’ll be worth seeing how the stateside music industry’s own streaming market performed throughout 2021.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in its 2021 half-year report said that streaming’s domestic revenue had cracked $5.9 billion – up 26 percent YoY, for 84 percent of H1 2021’s total. (The BPI will release the UK music industry’s 2021 revenue totals later this year.)

The BPI’s 2021 report also disclosed that 1,918 artists had generated north of 10 million streams apiece in the UK (not including global plays), up from 1,798 in 2020 and 1,537 in 2019. “It means nearly twice as many artists are now earning meaningful royalties as could do so in the CD era,” the trade association wrote, further noting that just 1,092 artists had sold 10,000 CDs (equivalent to 10 million streams) in 2007.

Of course, this emphasis – as well as the idea that growth within the UK music industry is being “fuelled by record label investment” – arrives as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) conducts a “probe into music streaming,” following a comprehensive investigation and report from a parliamentary committee.