BPI report: How streaming is democratising global consumption for UK artists

BPI report: How streaming is democratising global consumption for UK artists

An in-depth new study from the BPI shows how more British artists are succeeding domestically and around the world thanks to streaming.

The New Music Democracy: How More Artists Are Succeeding From Streaming provides an overview of music streaming in the UK last year, when the market hit a record 159.3 billion audio streams, representing 86.1% of recorded music consumption in the UK, compared with 36.4% in 2016. The report draws on Official Charts Company data from the UK, as well as global streaming data from Luminate to track how UK artists fared overseas.

The study comprises charts, data, research and analysis about the UK’s streaming market, including revealing for the first time how many streams the year’s biggest hits overall and in the leading genres each achieved, how many artists reached key streaming thresholds and which artists had the most streams overall.

Also revealed is the insight that more than 1,000 UK artists accumulated at least 20 million audio streams of their music globally in 2022 – around 15% more than in 2021, according to data from Luminate.

More than 100 UK artists’ stream counts topped half a billion globally list year, including R&B artist Ella Mai (pictured), who scored a US Hot 100 Top 5 hit and won a Grammy, despite never having reached the UK Top 40. 

“This record-breaking haul of British talent achieving multi-million stream counts around the world highlights a market in which many more artists are thriving thanks to record label support and the new opportunities that streaming has brought to the recorded music market,” stated the BPI. “This comes at a time when artist opportunities have never been greater, with higher royalty rates and shorter contract terms having been embraced across the industry.”

The full report is accessible via the BPI site.

Sophie Jones, BPI chief strategy officer and interim chief executive, said: “Streaming has changed the face of music – enabling artists to connect with fans at home and around the world in ways never possible before, and with consumers also able to enjoy unprecedented choice and affordability. It is heartening to see this new research showing so many artists achieving such huge success in streaming, encompassing many less well-known names as well as global superstars. With record labels delivering improvements in areas such as transparency and deal terms, as the market continues to adapt and evolve, their biggest contribution remains essential investment to develop and support artists.  

Streaming has changed the face of music – enabling artists to connect with fans at home and around the world in ways never possible before

Sophie Jones

“Based on the evidence provided in this report, the task in front of all of us – policymakers and the wider music community – is clear: continued music growth and the benefits for all can only be achieved by enabling an environment where labels are supported in doing what they do best – investing in creative potential, nurturing talent and producing the great music we all love that enriches our daily lives and helps the UK to excel as a great music-creating and exporting nation.”  

While the reports reveals superstars including Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles and Dua Lipa led the UK’s charge on the global music market, below them were hundreds of British artists drawn from every genre and era of music and whose worldwide streaming numbers were being counted in the tens of millions. 

A number of these artists have achieved some success at home, but have a significant following in overseas markets. These include Asking Alexandria, who have landed three Top 10 albums in the US; Toronto-based Banners, who has achieved several US rock hits; Scottish-American singer-songwriter Sarah McLaughlin aka Bishop Briggs, who scored a Top 3 US alternative hit; and singer-songwriter Bruno Major, who has enjoyed success in Europe, North America and Australia. They were among 200 UK artists who achieved at least 200 million global audio streams last year, while 400 surpassed 100 million audio streams around the world, according to data from Luminate.

The report also takes in singer-songwriter Cavetown, who only last year landed his first ever domestic Top 40 album, even though a number of his releases have been certified gold in the US by the RIAA. Over 40 UK artists achieved more than 1 billion audio streams worldwide last year.

“As the report outlines, UK artists have great earning potential abroad from streaming, and this is why it is vital to continue to support touring and help these artists build a global fanbase,” added the BPI. “While British artists are thriving in the UK, Britain’s share of the global market is under increasing pressure, not just from traditionally strong music markets such as the US but also as a result of the double-digit boom in local repertoire in Asia, Latin America and Africa and the success of bigger markets. As the traditionally larger markets begin to see a slowdown in growth in the coming years, it is a priority for many labels to ensure that their UK artists can develop an international fanbase.”

The report also highlights the huge numbers now needed just to have one of the year’s relatively minor streaming hits in the UK. The UK’s 5,000th biggest hit of 2022, Lana Del Rey’s The Other Woman, was streamed nearly five million times last year, while the 10,000th most popular hit Raindrops (Insane) by Metro Boomin feat. Travis Scott reached 2.5 million streams, according to Official Charts data. 

The year’s biggest smash, As It Was by Harry Styles, was streamed 180.9 million times in the UK.

PHOTO: Adrienne Raquel (Interscope Records)


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