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UK recorded music revenues up 3.1% in 2018, though, you know, “value gap”

By | Published on Thursday 21 March 2019


We already knew that the UK record industry saw its revenues rise in 2018, obviously. The Entertainment Retailers Association confirmed earlier this month that just over £1.3 billion went through the musical tills of record shops and digital services last year. But now record label trade body BPI has also confirmed that trade revenues were up 3.1% to £865.5 million.

This increase was chiefly thanks to the premium streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, and no fucking thanks at all to YouTube, of course. But that’s pretty much a given in the modern music business, right? However, if you want the figures, the subscription side of streaming was up 34.9% in 2018, with said subscriptions now 54% of UK recorded music income. Which in good old fashioned British pounds comes in at £467.6 million.

As for YouTube-type services like, well, YouTube? Says the BPI alongside its brand new stats pack, the record industry’s revenue revival could have been “greater still had video streaming platforms, predominantly YouTube, generated a great deal more than just £29.7 million in return for an estimated 30 billion-plus annual plays of music videos in the UK”. Yeah YouTube, vinyl brings in nearly double that. And as we all know – for all the vinyl revival hype – only my mate Jen and your uncle Phil actually buy vinyl.

Physical across the board was down, down, down, to £240.7 million, while downloads were again down loads (which is good news for the repeat use of that weak gag) to £81.5 million.

Sync was up though. Good old sync. A whole £25.5 million came in from sync. That’s a mega-bucks 2.9% of the market! Thank the Lord for all those music conference panels telling us that sync is the be all and end all of the modern music industry. Though music supervisors of the world, that figure doesn’t include telly sync. There’s your get out.

And let us never forget, across the board UK record industry revenues were up! To £865.5 million! A 3.1% year-on-year rise! A 21.8% increase since 2015! And all because of “the popularity of diverse British artists and innovative record label marketing” says the BPI. And all the nostalgic hype around that Queen movie. And the fucking ‘Greatest Showman’.

“The recorded music industry in the UK is showing consistent growth, driven by investment in new talent, innovative global marketing, and offering music fans outstanding choice, convenience and value”, says BPI boss Geoff Taylor.

“The outlook for the future remains positive”, he adds, although, this being a record industry stats pack launch, there has to be some gripes. You know, safe harbour, YouTube and the bloody “value gap”. Piracy returns to that list too. And the need for more music education funding is on there as well now. Which is an interesting and welcome development.

“Long-term growth”, the gripe list begins, “depends on robust government action to tackle the value gap, promote investment, ensure online platforms take responsible action to reduce infringement, and secure the future talent pipeline by giving state school pupils the opportunity to discover and develop their talent”.