Harry Styles, Taylor Swift Top Sellers – Billboard
Written by GRB on 10/03/2023
LONDON – Vinyl sales generated more money for record labels and artists than CDs for the first time in more than three decades in the United Kingdom last year, helping drive a 4.7% rise in overall music revenue, according to annual figures from labels trade body BPI published Thursday (March 9).
In 2022, sales of vinyl LPs climbed 3.1% year-on-year in the U.K. to £119.5 million ($142.4 million) and now account for over half (55%) of all trade revenues from physical sales. The last time vinyl revenues eclipsed CD sales in the United Kingdom, BPI says, was in 1987 when Michael Jackson’s Bad was the year’s best-selling album and Rick Astley had the best-selling single of the year with “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
In total, 5.5 million vinyl LPs were sold in the United Kingdom last year. That marks the highest level of vinyl purchases in the country since 1990, according to BPI figures released in January measuring music consumption. The best-selling vinyl titles in the U.K. in 2022 were Taylor Swift’s Midnights, Harry Styles’ Harry’s House and Arctic Monkeys’ The Car.
Despite the ongoing vinyl revival, overall revenue from physical formats was down 10.5% to £216 million ($258 million), with CD sales slipping 24% to £89 million ($107 million).
Offsetting that decline was 6.3% year-on-year growth in streaming revenues, which climbed to £885 million ($1 billion) and accounted for 67% of U.K. recorded music revenues in 2022 — up from 66.2% the 12 months prior. Vinyl sales made up 9% of the market in terms of annual trade revenues, while CDs accounted for 7%.
Breaking down streaming revenue, paid subscriptions generated £763 million ($910 million), up 4.8% on 2021, while ad-funded revenue grew by more than a fifth (22%) to £63 million ($75 million). Digital download sales fell 17.5% to £28 million ($33 million).
Synch revenues were up even more sharply, rising 39% year-on-year to £43 million ($51 million), while public performance income spiked 23% to £143 million ($170 million).
Total U.K. recorded music sales — comprising digital and physical revenues, public performance rights and synch — climbed 4.7% to £1.32 billion ($1.57 billion) in 2022. That marks a rise of 36% over the past five years, according to BPI, as well as the eighth-consecutive year of growth.
The United Kingdom is the world’s third biggest recorded music market behind the United States and Japan with sales of just over $1.8 billion in trade value, according to IFPI’s 2022 Global Music Report. (BPI’s year-end sales figures are based on pound sterling, rather than the far stronger U.S. dollar, hence the perceived decline in overall revenues when BPI’s figures are converted into dollars at a constant currency basis).
“2022 was another great year for British music, but we must guard against any complacency in the face of growing challenges and keep promoting and protecting the value of music,” BPI chief strategy officer and interim CEO Sophie Jones said in a statement. She also called upon the U.K. music community to work together to “create the impetus” for further growth and “futureproof the success of British music in an increasingly competitive global music market.”
As previously reported, British artists accounted for the top 10 biggest-selling singles in the U.K. last year (either as the lead or as a featured artist) for the first time since year-end charts were introduced more than 50 years ago. Leading the pack was Harry Styles’ “As It Was,” which topped the U.K. singles chart for 10 consecutive weeks (it also spent 15 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100) and was streamed more than 180 million times in the country.
Joining Styles in the U.K. top 10 was Ed Sheeran, Cat Burns, Glass Animals, Lost Frequencies & Calum Scott, LF System, Sam Fender and Kate Bush, whose 1985 track “Running Up That Hill” spent three weeks at No. 1 following its high-profile Stranger Things synch; it was streamed 124 million times in her home country last year.
Styles also landed the year’s best-selling album with his third studio set, Harry’s House, making him the first artist to have both the United Kingdom’s top single and top album since Lewis Capaldi in 2019. Sheeran’s = (Equals) and Swift’s Midnights were the year’s second and third-best-selling albums.