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Business News (more headlines) 01-06-2014

Surge In Streaming Gives Further Impetus To Digital Music Growth In 2013

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Market data compiled jointly by the BPI - the body which represents the British recorded music business - and the Official Charts Company shows that continuing strong demand for digital downloads and a surge in the consumption of music via streaming services helped the UK recorded music market achieve another £1 billion-plus year in 2013.

The way that music is discovered and enjoyed by fans continues to be shaped by the rapid evolution of digital technology, and 2013 arguably witnessed an even bigger shift in this dynamic as growing numbers took advantage of increased ownership of tablets and smartphones to either download or stream their favourite songs and albums.

Streaming now worth over £100 million to the UK recorded music market

Until now streaming data has not been included in the published UK market figures, but the BPI has calculated that in 2013 the value of premium-account subscriptions to audio streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer exceeded the £100 million mark for the first time to stand at around £103m (2012: £77m).

In all, a staggering 7.4 billion tracks were streamed via premium or ad-funded audio services over the past 12 months (according to the Official Charts Company data) - double the 3.7bn figure reported in 2012.

It also means that streamed music now accounts for 10 per cent of the overall value of the UK music market - a 34 per cent rise on 2012 figure of £77m, when its share stood at 7 per cent.

Digital albums up 6.8 per cent; Digital singles second-highest year of all time

The growth in demand for digital albums continued during the past twelve months, according to Official Charts Company figures. Some 32.6 million albums were downloaded - representing a 6.8 per cent increase on 2012 and over 100 per cent growth on the level five years ago. The most-downloaded album was Now That's What I Call Music 85, with the most popular digital album by an artist Bastille's Bad Blood.

Sales of digital singles in 2013 came close to matching their all-time record year in 2012 (183.3 million tracks downloaded) at 175.6 million units, according to Official Charts Company data - the second highest in recorded music history. The most downloaded track was Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. followed by Daft Punk's Get Lucky again featuring Pharrell Williams and also Nile Rodgers. Next came Avicii's Wake Me Up, followed by the highest-placed British performer, Passenger, with his hit Let Her Go - one of four million-selling tracks in 2013.

For a fourth consecutive year over a million singles were downloaded on Christmas Day as music fans took to the Internet having opened gifts that increasingly include smartphones, tablets and iTunes vouchers.

CDs show resilience; compilations up and vinyl revival continues

The market for physically-packaged media remains relatively resilient, according to the Official Charts Company, with CD album sales still accounting for 64 per cent of the total music units sold in music/entertainment stores in the High Street and online - down 12.8 per cent on 2012.

Within this trend, however, compilations albums continue to perform particularly well and were up 3.7 per cent on last year, driven mainly by the enduring popularity of the Now range. In fact, Now That's What I Call Music 86 was 2013's overall best seller across all formats - shifting some 1.1m copies in total.

Vinyl continues its revival, with just over 780,000 LP albums sold in 2013, Official Charts Company figures reveal - up 101 per cent on 2012 and over 270 per cent on five years ago.

This is the largest annual total in over 15 years (in 1997 817,000 LP units were sold). Vinyl 7" singles were up 34 per cent on last year and sales of 12" singles rose 60 per cent on 2012.

The vinyl format, whilst still popular with some baby-boomers, increasingly also appeals to an engaged audience of younger artists and consumers alike, who appreciate its iconic heritage as part of Rock and Pop culture. The format's profile and sales have also been driven by the success of annual events such as Record Store Day.

British artists continue to dominate the charts - 2013 best-sellers stats

British artists continued to dominate the Official Charts in 2013. One Direction's Midnight Memories was the biggest-selling artist album of the year, which sold 685,000 copies in just six weeks to make it the fastest-selling title of the year. That makes it nine years in a row that a UK artist has had the top seller: Emeli Sandé Our Version Of Events (2012), Adele 21 (2011), Take That Progress (2010), Susan Boyle I Dreamed A Dream (2009), Duffy Rockferry (2008), Amy Winehouse Back To Black (2007), Snow Patrol Eyes Open (2006), and James Blunt Back To Bedlam (2005).

* The biggest-selling album overall was Now That's What I Call Music 86, which sold 1.1m copies.
* Passenger had the most successful single of the year among British artists - the million-selling Let Her Go. The biggest-selling singles overall were Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. followed by Daft Punk's Get Lucky ft. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers, and Avicii's Wake Me Up.
* The most successful digital artist album of 2013 was Bad Blood by Bastille, while the most streamed artists were another British act - Arctic Monkeys. Both acts are due to perform at this year's BRIT Awards with MasterCard on 19th February.
* Arctic Monkeys also prevailed as the biggest-selling artists on vinyl in 2013. Their acclaimed album AM topped the Official Charts ahead of Random Access Memories by Daft Punk and The Next Day by David Bowie.

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