U.K. Music Business Is Hot – Thanks to Streaming, Harry Styles

The business of music —  particularly, streaming music — is booming in the U.K., where freshly-published data reveals an eighth consecutive year of growth.

Recorded music revenue for 2022 grew by 4.7% against the previous year, to £1.32 billion ($2.38 billion), according to labels body BPI.

Streaming is now a billion-dollar business in the U.K. It’s the steam that moves this music engine.

Revenue from the myriad streaming platforms came to £885 million ($1.6 billion) last year, up by 6.35% from 2021 results, and now accounts for more than two-thirds of all industry revenue, which includes sync and public performance.

Paid subscriptions was the boss, posting gains of 4.8% to £762.8 million ($1.38 billion), with Amazon, Apple, Spotify and YouTube among the big players.

The vinyl comeback continues, and it’s by no means a middling format. Almost £119.5 million ($215 million) was generated by wax, up by 3.1% on the year-earlier period.

The same can’t be said for CDs, which continues to skid — shedding 23.% in value, for a total of just £89.5 million ($161 million).

Vinyl now accounts for 55% of revenue from physical formats. The last time wax eclipsed CDs in the BPI’s annual trade data was back in 1987.

Though the K-pop phenomenon is here and its hot, Britain continues to launch mega-popular acts into the music world.

Among the brightest stars from the U.K. last year were Harry Styles, who was recently awarded as the winner of IFPI’s Global Single Award for 2022 with “As It Was,” along with Adele and Ed Sheeran, both among the most popular artists on the planet last year.

The most-streamed track in the U.K. in 2022 was “As It Was,” recently named song of the year at the 2023 Brit Awards, followed by Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” and Glass Animals’ slow burner “Heat Waves,” respectively.

“The U.K. environment has always enabled recorded music to thrive, something we must safeguard,” comments Sophie Jones, BPI chief strategy officer and interim CEO, “but now we need the music community to unite and create the impetus for further growth so that we can build on an already strong foundation to futureproof the success of British music in an increasingly competitive global music market.”

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