Streaming grows again as Brits turn to music during lockdown
Written by on 4 January 2021
Music has helped people get through lockdown, with streaming growing for a sixth straight year in 2020, according to new figures.
There were 139 billion audio streams, up by more than a fifth, while 155 million albums or their equivalent were either streamed or bought, an 8.2% rise, the record labels association British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.
Nearly 200 artists were streamed more than 100 million times.
The popularity of the medium has led to calls for companies to offer singers and musicians a greater share of the profits during the pandemic.
Sir Paul McCartney became the latest star to highlight the issue, saying “they probably don’t pay enough. But (the platforms are) in such a powerful position. What can people do?”.
Streaming now accounts for 80% of UK music consumption, although vinyl and cassette sales have continued to grow.
Homegrown talent enjoyed a good year, with UK artists Lewis Capaldi, Harry Styles and Dua Lipa accounting for eight of the top 10 albums in the UK.
But the BPI said a new wave of talent, such as AJ Tracey, Aitch, J Hus, Joel Corry, Mabel, KSI, Headie One, Jorja Smith and Gerry Cinnamon, are also driving growth.
BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “The performance of recorded music in 2020 was remarkable, and reminds us how important music is to our country, even when our lives are disrupted.
“But any satisfaction we can take is tempered by the devastating impact of the pandemic on live music.
“Recorded music is only one element of artists’ incomes, and we renew our calls on government to support our culturally important venues, nightclubs and festivals until they can safely reopen.”
He said: “Record labels are investing heavily in new artists to secure the future of British music, boosting the UK’s exports and soft power.”
The figures are based on Official Charts Company data.