UK music sales hit 14-year high

2019 marked the fifth consecutive year of growth in the consumption of recorded music in the UK, according to figures released by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

The equivalent of 154 million albums were either streamed, purchased on physical formats or downloaded – up by 7.5% in volume on the total recorded in 2018. The BPI said this is the highest amount since 2006, when the figure stood at 161.4m albums.

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The continued growth in streaming, which rose by 26% on the year, also underpinned this rise in consumption, and streaming now accounts for three quarters (74.4%) of Album Equivalent Sales (AES).

Additionally, vinyl LP sales rose for a 12th consecutive year, with Liam Gallagher’s Why Me? Why Not the most in-demand title, selling over 29,000 copies. The top 10 included new album releases by Billie Eilish and Lewis Capaldi alongside catalogue classics such as Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and Queen’s Greatest Hits.

Vinyl LPs now account for one in every eight albums bought, with 4.3 million purchased in 2019, an increase of 4.1% on the previous year and a rise of over 2,000% on the format’s low point in 2007.

Vanessa Higgins, CEO Regent Street Records, and an independent member of BPI Council, said: “It’s great to see streaming continue to grow and smash through ever impressive landmark numbers.”

She added: “It’s also wonderful to see the continued growth of vinyl and the resurrection of the cassette, which shows fans still love a physical, tangible music artefact in their hands.

“Personally I would love to see a rebirth in the British manufacture of these products, supported by modern technology and government, to match the rediscovered UK physical market and the untapped potential that still lies there.”

It comes after HMV opened a new 25,000 sq ft megastore in Birmingham in October 2019.

The HMV Vault, will be home to approximately 80,000 CDs, 25,000 vinyl albums, 40,000 DVDs and 20,000 Blu-ray discs, as well as offering a massive range of merchandise and over 7,000 books.

Doug Putman, the owner of Canadian record company Sunrise Records, acquired the entertainment retailer out of administration earlier this year saving around 100 of its stores.

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