Half time lead: UK market soars over first six months of 2017

Ed Sheeran

Streaming and Ed Sheeran have combined to put the 2017 UK music market up over 11% year-on-year at the halfway stage, according to figures from the BPI/Official Charts Company.

After some very healthy Q2 figures, the combined Q1 and Q2 figures show that Album Equivalent Sales (AES) soared to 63,867,380 units in H1, up 11.6% on 2016. Within that, Stream Equivalent Albums were unsurprisingly the star performer, leaping 53.2% y-o-y. However, a strong physical albums performance also helped: strong CD sales for releases from Sheeran, Rag’N’Bone Man and Take That saw the format decline by just 3.9% year-on-year.

CD albums dropped 6.4%, while vinyl again rose 32.2%. The vinyl revival even spread to the singles market, with sales of 12” singles up 60.2% - although only to a total of 81,471 units.

Downloads, however, remain in serious decline. Digital albums dropped 24.1% and Track Equivalent Albums fell 23.5% as the MP3 seems destined to beat CDs to the format graveyard.

In contrast, audio streams surged past the 30m mark for the half year for a total of 31,848,269,600.

Universal lead the All Albums AES market shares with 34.2%, followed by Sony (23.7%), Warner (19.8%), BMG (1.8%) and XL Beggars (1.7%). Atlantic – home to that man Sheeran, who has broken countless sales records over the first six months of the year – tops the label shares with 9.6%, ahead of Virgin EMI on 9.1%.

On Artist Albums AES, it finished Universal (33.4%), Sony (22.1%), Warner (21.1%), XL Beggars (1.9%), BMG (1.7%). Atlantic was No.1 label with 10.7%, ahead of Virgin EMI on 8.9%.

For full analysis of the half-year figures, see the new edition of Music Week, out today. To subscribe and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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