Female artists drive music sales boom in UK

Stay informed with free updates

Music consumption in the UK increased by a tenth in 2023 thanks to the growth in streaming platforms as well as the continued resurgence of vinyl. 

The BPI, which represents the UK’s record companies and labels, said that music fans in the UK bought 182.8mn albums, or their equivalent in streaming, last year, the ninth consecutive annual rise for the industry.

Driving the growth over the past 12 months has been the success of female artists in particular, with women spending a record-breaking 31 weeks at the top of the UK singles charts in 2023. 

That is the longest run in a calendar year since the chart was launched in 1952, boosted by the popularity of new songs from artists including Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding and PinkPantheress.

Jo Twist, chief executive of the BPI, said there was a “more diverse range of recording artists than ever achieving great success with the backing of their labels”.

In total, the BPI measured 179.6bn streams in the UK, a figure that has doubled in the past five years and that shows the financial reliance of many of the world’s leading music labels on digital sales.

Streaming in the UK increased about 13 per cent in 2023 and now accounts for 88 per cent of the market.

Vinyl LP purchases rose 11.8 per cent year on year to 6.1mn units, their fastest pace in more than 30 years, showing the continued popularity of a format that had been written off by many as old-fashioned. Sales of CDs fell almost 7 per cent to 10.8mn units — with Take That’s This Life the best-selling CD. More than 100,000 cassettes were also purchased.

The latest music data shows the strength of the recorded music industry in the UK — which is a comparatively mature market — although music executives warn of challenges ahead from artificial intelligence-generated music copying the work of their artists.

However, there were also legitimate uses of AI last year, with the return of The Beatles to the top of the singles chart for the first time since 1969. The track “Now and Then” was created using a John Lennon demo from the 1970s and finished using AI technology.

Miley Cyrus had the longest stretch at the top of the charts — with her song “Flowers” remaining at number one for 10 weeks — but four of 2023’s five biggest tracks and seven of the year’s top 10 songs were by female artists. The Weeknd’s retrospective The Highlights was the top album of the year followed by Taylor Swift’s Midnights.

This post was originally published on this site