Streaming set to overtake physical music sales in the UK

BPI chief welcomes new figures but warns Government must do more to protect creative industries post-Brexit

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Thursday 13 April 2017 08:12 BST
Services such as Apple Music and Spotify have seen a rise in paid subscriptions
Services such as Apple Music and Spotify have seen a rise in paid subscriptions

Music streaming is set to overtake physical sales as the biggest generator of income for the UK record industry, it has been reported.

As consumers continue to opt for subscriptions to streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, revenues were pushed to a five-year high in 2016.

BPI figures show that the total income generated by the UK music industry rose 5 per cent last year, from £881m to £925m, as the revenue from streaming services shot up by 60 per cent, the FT reports.

Subscriptions to Spotify, Apple and other services such as Deezer accounted for 87 per cent of the £273m overall streaming revenues.

However, despite popular opinion that physical sales are dying, the total income from non-digital formats still made up 32 per cent of the British market in 2016 - only dipping by 2 per cent.

Earlier this week figures showed that vinyl sales were up 35.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to last year, rising from 637,056 units to 865,285.

Several key releases, including Ed Sheeran's latest album and Rag 'N' Bone Man's Human, were credited with helping get the UK music industry off to a positive start to the year, as fans bought physical copies of their records as well as streaming them online.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, said that the British music sector was in rude health, but warned that the Government should prioritise creative industries in a post-Brexit world.

"It means making sure that UK artists can tour freely in EU markets and that UK businesses can access the best talent," he said.

"It means taking firm action against illegal websites that deny artists a living, and it means making clear in UK law that huge online platforms must pay fair royalties for the music they use."

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