BPI: UK recorded music market increases 10% as women rule on singles chart in 2023

BPI: UK recorded music market increases 10% as women rule on singles chart in 2023

The BPI has released its market data for 2023, which shows a ninth consecutive annual rise in music consumption.

A record number of streams fuelled market growth in 2023 – streaming now accounts for 87.7% of the market, compared to 63.6% in 2018. 

The UK’s streaming market hit another record high in 2023 with 179.6 billion audio streams amassed across the 12 months. This was up 12.8% on the previous year and nearly double the total achieved five years earlier. 

Streaming consumption led a ninth consecutive annual rise in UK recorded music consumption overall (AES – album equivalent sales), with sales and streams combined increasing by 10.0% to 182.8 million albums (or their equivalent) in 2023. Streaming equivalent albums were up 12.0% to 160.3m units.

Women artists spent the most weeks at No.1 on the singles chart in a calendar year since the countdown launched in 1952, according to BPI analysis of Official Charts data. 

Led by Miley Cyrus’s 10-week chart-topper Flowers, women secured a record-breaking 31 out of 52 weeks leading the singles chart in 2023. This was thanks to a mix of UK domestic successes including Dua Lipa (Dance The Night), Ellie Goulding (Miracle with Calvin Harris), Kenya Grace (Strangers) and Raye (Escapism feat 070 Shake), and international artists such as Billie Eilish (What Was I Made For?), Doja Cat (Paint The Town Red), Olivia Rodrigo (Vampire) and Taylor Swift (Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Version)).

Based on combined streaming and sales activity, four of 2023’s five biggest tracks and seven of the year’s Top 10 were by women. Miley Cyrus’s Flowers was joined by hits from fellow US superstars SZA (Kill Bill) and Taylor Swift (Anti-Hero), Cameroonian-American singer Libianca (People) and UK artists Ellie Goulding (Miracle with Calvin Harris), PinkPantheress (Boy’s A Liar) and Raye (Escapism feat 070 Shake).  

Dr Jo Twist OBE, BPI chief executive, said: “Whilst work continues towards achieving full representation for women across the music industry, 2023 has been a brilliant year for women in the Official Charts. There is a more diverse range of recording artists than ever achieving great success with the backing of their labels. Women spent more weeks at No.1 on the Official Singles Chart than in any previous year, while seven of the ten biggest tracks were by women. This should be celebrated, but without complacency, and our work in the music industry continues to ensure that this becomes the norm.” 

There is a more diverse range of recording artists than ever achieving great success with the backing of their labels

Dr Jo Twist

Thirteen of the year’s Top 20 tracks were by women, including UK artists Dua Lipa (Dance The Night), Ella Henderson (React with Switch Disco), PinkPantheress (Boy’s A Liar) and Venbee (Messy In Heaven with Goddard), alongside global stars including SZA (Kill Bill), Bebe Rexha (I’m Good (Blue) with David Guetta, Libianca (People), Olivia Rodrigo (Vampire) and Taylor Swift (Anti-Hero and Cruel Summer).

In addition, nearly half (48.5%) of the tracks that reached the Top 10 of the weekly singles chart last year were by women, either solo or in collaboration with other artists. This represented their highest annual share of Top 10 hits this century. Solo women artists claimed the top three positions for a record-breaking six consecutive weeks on the singles chart during August and September last year.

The continuing rise in streaming numbers prompted the BPI to introduce the BRIT Billion Award in 2023, recognising artists who have achieved more than one billion career streams in the UK alone. To date, nearly 30 artists have been honoured, including Ed Sheeran with 10 billion UK streams, the Rolling Stones and Queen as well as other British artists such as AJ Tracey, Becky Hill, Coldplay, Raye, Rita Ora and Sam Smith. 

The Weeknd has the year’s biggest album

Catalogue-based titles dominated the year-end albums chart once again, which made it harder for new releases and breakthrough talent to make their mark.

The Weeknd’s retrospective The Highlights was the year’s top album, while Taylor Swift’s Midnights claimed runner-up spot in 2023. Her 2023 release 1989 (Taylor’s Version), a reworking of the 2014 LP, was the year’s third biggest album.  

Elton John’s Diamonds, which was first released in 2017, ranked at No.4 with its sales and streams boosted by a farewell tour whose closing UK date was on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival. Harry Styles’ Harry’s House secured fifth place. 

The Barbie album soundtrack was the year’s top compilation and included chart-toppers by Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa, as well as the Top 10 hits Speed Drive by Charli XCX and Barbie World by Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice feat Aqua.

Miley Cyrus’ Flowers is the year’s biggest hit  

Flowers by Miley Cyrus was one of 11 tracks to accumulate more than 100 million audio and video streams in the UK in 2023. It amassed more than 198 million streams in the UK alone.

Hits by Dave & Central Cee (Sprinter), Raye feat 070 Shake (Escapism), Rema (Calm Down), Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding (Miracle), SZA (Kill Bill), PinkPantheress (Boy’s A Liar), Taylor Swift (Anti-Hero), Libianca (People), Harry Styles (As It Was) and Miguel (Sure Thing) also reached nine figures across streaming platforms.

They led a market in which a record-breaking 2,519 tracks accumulated at least 10 million audio and video streams in the year, compared to 1,136 tracks having reached the same total in 2018. 

UK successes among the year’s Top 100 singles included global stars Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Elton John and Sam Smith, as well as Anne-Marie, Ella Henderson, Kenya Grace, Lewis Capaldi, Mimi Webb, D-Block Europe, J Hus, Strandz, Jorja Smith, Becky Hill, Chase & Status, Eliza Rose, Rudimental, Switch Disco and Venbee.

Wham!’s festive classic Last Christmas finished in the year’s Top 20 having topped the Christmas week singles chart for the first time. The year also saw the return of The Beatles to the top of the singles chart for the first time since 1969 with Now and Then, which was created around a John Lennon demo from the 1970s and billed as the group’s last ever song.

Vinyl LP sales increase again 

With the final figures in for 2023, vinyl LP sales increased for the 16th consecutive year in 2023, growing at their fastest rate this decade with an 11.8% rise to 6.1 million units. This took them to their highest level since 1990 when releases by Phil Collins, Elton John and Madonna were among the year’s biggest sellers.

Continuing a trend in which new titles rather than catalogue have led the market, seven of the year’s 10 most popular vinyl LPs were released in 2023, led by 1989 (Taylor’s Version) and Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift, the Rolling Stones’ Hackney Diamonds, Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd by Lana Del Rey and The Ballad Of Darren by Blur. 

While sales of compact discs continued to fall, their annual rate of decline slowed to its lowest level since 2015, dropping by 6.9% to 10.8 million units. This Life by Take That was the year’s top title with just over 127,000 units sold.

Cassettes surpassed six figures annually for the fourth consecutive year, reaching around 136,000 units with top seller Guts by Olivia Rodrigo having shifted nearly 8,500 copies on the format during its first week of release in September.

Overall, physical music sales were down just 1.1% year-on-year to 17.1m units in 2023. Physical music narrowly missed out on its first year-on-year increase since 2004 – the peak year for CD sales in the UK. 

While streaming now accounts for the vast majority of the market, physical continued to dominate the top of the albums chart. Out of the 44 albums that debuted at No.1, 86% of them had more than half their chart-eligible sales made up of physical sales. 

In 35 weeks physical was behind more than 70% of chart-eligible sales of the week’s top album, led by The Courteeneers’ St Jude (97.5%), This Life by Take That (97.1%), Theatre Of The Absurd Presents C’est La Vie by Madness (91.0%), The Ballad Of Darren by Blur (89.6%) and Hackney Diamonds by the Rolling Stones (89.5%). 

Digital album download sales dropped by 4.6% to 3.5 million units with the year’s best sellers including Trustfall by Pink, But Here We Are by Foo Fighters and Endless Summer Vacation by Miley Cyrus.

Subscribers can read our Hitmakers feature on Flowers with Kid Harpoon.

The first interview with BPI chief exec Dr Jo Twist is available for subscribers here.

– © Official Charts Company

1 The Weeknd – The Highlights

2 Taylor Swift – Midnights

3 Taylor Swift – 1989 (Taylor’s Version)

4 Elton John – Diamonds

5 Harry Styles – Harry’s House

6 Fleetwood Mac – 50 Years – Don’t Stop

7 Eminem – Curtain Call – The Hits


9 Arctic Monkeys – AM

10 ABBA – Gold – Greatest Hits

– © Official Charts Company 

1 Miley Cyrus – Flowers

2 Dave & Central Cee – Sprinter

3 Raye feat 070 Shake – Escapism

4 Taylor Swift – Anti-Hero

5 Calvin Harrs & Ellie Goulding – Miracle

6 Rema – Calm Down

7 SZA – Kill Bill

8 PinkPantheress – Boy’s A Liar

9 Harry Styles – As It Was

10 Libianca – People


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