UK Music's Measuring Music report showed that export revenues of British music grew by 7 per cent to a new high of £2.6bn. Overall the UK music industry contributed a record £4.5bn to the UK economy last year, up £100m from 2016.
It will come as little surprise that Sheeran's third album ÷ [Divide], which features the hit singles "Shape of You" and "Perfect", was the biggest-selling album of last year.
UK records saw a surge of 9 per cent up from 2016, netting £700m over last year.
Pop star Dua Lipa added to the success by becoming Spotify's most-streamed female artist of 2017, beating the likes of Rihanna and Taylor Swift.
Live events such as tours and festivals accounted for £1bn of revenue, including world tours by The Rolling Stones, Coldplay and Sir Paul McCartney. Five of the top 10 most successful worldwide tours were from UK acts. The report confirmed the O2 in London as the world's most popular arena.
UK Music's chief executive Michael Dugher said in a statement responding to the report: "British music brings enjoyment to millions and makes a massive contribution to the UK. I'm really proud of the fact that these figures show once again that when it comes to music, we in the UK are very, very good at what we do."
However, he also used the report to warn of the need to continue nurturing the industry's talent, and give people from all backgrounds access to a career in music.
"These figures show what can be achieved when we choose to back the British music industry," he said.
"That's why we need further government support to help us ensure we produce the next generation of world-leading British talent by backing music in education, protecting grassroots music venues and making sure that creators are properly rewarded for their work. If we do that, we can be even more successful in the future."
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