Figures out today from the BPI show the British music industry hitting new highs thanks to streaming. The numbers are a major boost for a recorded music business that’s still recovering from the impact of piracy. The success is likely to drive a shift in the narrative around music that will create opportunities for communicators.
As the first entertainment industry to be massively disrupted by the internet, trends in music are well worth watching as a barometer of potential evolution in TV, movies, games and beyond.
Among the findings revealed by the BPI:
- The standout figure is that streaming now accounts for over half of all UK music consumption (excluding radio), listening hit over 1.5bn streams in a single week during December.
- UK acts make up 8 of top-10 best-selling artist albums, with the sales juggernaut that is Ed Sheeran scoring the most streamed album, the biggest physical sales (CD and LP), most downloaded album, the year’s biggest selling single and the Christmas No.1.
- Vinyl continues to record impressive numbers, with sales of 4m (up 26.8%), the highest since 1991. LPs now account for almost one in ten of all physical music sales.
The success of British music – and streaming as a whole – will drive a shift in the communications landscape around music. We’re likely to see:
- Greater interest in music start-ups, partly driven by increased investor confidence in music as a whole. Innovation in music is far from over and there’s plenty to play for in areas ranging from fan engagement to support for emerging artists – driven by innovations including artificial intelligence and better social discovery.
- Interest in the “next big thing” in music experience: the next phase of innovation in smart speakers, improving voice control, exploring VR/AR promo content and ways of making mobile music even better.
- More scrutiny on the ongoing vinyl revival and whether it will translate into more sales of new music as well as nostalgia purchases. Many indie labels can still only dream of the peak vinyl sales they experienced in the recent past and there’s plenty of potential for new pressing plants to ease supply problems.
- Ongoing debate around significant regulatory issues including artist payments, the playing field between various online music sources, ticketing and the potential impact of Brexit on fundamental activities such as touring.
It’s fantastic to start 2018 with such positivity. Looking forward to seeing what 2018 brings.