UK Expects 100 Billion Audio Streams In 2019

(Ross Gilmore / Getty Images
– Drake
Sold 93 percent of the 300,100 Scorpion units moved in the UK digitally

Streaming consumption was up 34 percent year-on-year in the UK in 2018, settling in at 91 billion audio streams in total. Industry body BPI expects that number to break the 100 billion mark this year.
In actual retail value, published by the country’s Entertainment Retailers Association ERA, music streaming increased by 37.7 percent from £601.9 million to £829.1 million ($1.1 billion) year-on-year.
Since 2012, audio streams through services including Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and others, increased by 2,350 percent. “In 2019 it is likely the landmark of 100 billion streams in a single year will be shattered, not least with new streaming services having come fully online, such as the licensed YouTube Music, which launched in the UK in June 2018,” the BPI states.
Adding physical sales and downloads to the streaming figures, BPI calculated that 142.9 million albums were consumed over the past 12 months.
This marks a 5.7 percent rise on the 135.1 million figure of 2017. “Combined UK sales and streams of recorded music have now grown by over a fifth (22%) since 2014,” the trade body states.
According to ERA, 2018’s 142.9 million album sales and streams generated an estimated retail value of £1.33 billion.
The biggest selling album of 2018 was a movie soundtrack: The Greatest Showman. Though released in December 2017, it came out on top as last year’s biggest-selling title, selling well over twice the number of copies as its nearest rival and occupying the number one spot for almost half the year, beating Adele’s record for non-consecutive weeks at peak position in the process.
With a total of 1,621,905 units moved – 48.7 percent digital, the rest physical, it marks the first movie soundtrack to top the year-end album charts since Saturday Night Fever in 1978.
The runner-up slot in 2018 was occupied by George Ezra’s Staying At Tamara’s, which sold 691,332 units (29.5 percent digital).
Only six of the UK’s top 20 albums of 2018 sold more digital than physical copies: Ed Sheeran‘s Divide on number three (510,305 sales, 59.1 percent digital), Drake‘s Scoprion on seven (300,100 sales, 93.1 percent digital), Post Malone‘s Beerbongs & Bentleys on nine (281,644, 91.9 percent), Dua Lipa on 12 (251,280, 65.1 percent), Eminem‘s Kamikaze on 13 (232,420, 71.6) and Ariana Grande‘s Sweetener on position 19 (193,362, 61.7 percent).
However, the physical dominance is limited to the top end of the UK’s charts. Overall, audio streaming now accounts for nearly two thirds (63.6 percent) of all UK domestic music consumption, followed by the CD (22.4 percent).
Demand for CD decreased by over a fifth year-on-year. “Whilst this is consistent with the long-term trend of recent years, it in part also reflected the steep year-on-year challenge of competing against the exceptional performance of Ed Sheeran’s Divide in 2017,” the BPI reasoned.
Vinyl consumption also grew in the UK, it continues to occupy a small but lucrative niche. Some 4.2 million LPs were purchased, which represents a rise of 1.6 percent compared to 2017 and and increase of 2,000 percent since the format’s low point of 205,000 copies sold in 2007.
Arctic MonkeysTranquility Base Hotel + Casino was 2018’s most-purchased album on vinyl and also the fastest-selling LP in over 25 years since charts records began in 1994, shifting 24,500 copies in seven days upon its May release.
Still, the world is digital in the UK. This becomes even more apparent when including other forms of entertainment consumed in 2018, such as video and games.
According to the ERA, digital services including Spotify, Steam, Netflix, Amazon, Deezer, Sky, Apple and Google, drove digital revenues to account for more than three-quarters (76.1 percent) of entertainment sales value in 2018.
“On a market level digital revenues now dominate all three sectors, with digital generating 80.1% of games revenues, 72.3% of video and 71.3% of music,” the association stated.
Similar to the music sector, the biggest selling titles are still distributed physically, with sales of the Top 20 films to own of the year averaging 74.1 percent physical.
The biggest-selling console game of the year, FIFA 19, shipped 2.5 million units, 75 percent of which were sold on physical formats.
The games sector was “the biggest winner in entertainment’s digital transformation,” according to the ERA. For the first time games accounted for more than half of the entire UK entertainment market (51.3 percent).
The physical console and PC games market shrank slightly by 2.8 percent to £769.9 million, and digital grew by 12.5 percent to £3.094 million, leading to an overall sales value of £3.9 billion in 2018 – bigger than video (£2.3 billion) and music (£1.33 billion) combined.