Nearly twice as many artists earning “meaningful royalties” from streaming than they were in the CD era.

It’s that time again. A new year has begun and that means it’s time to look back at the year we’ve passed through and how the music industry has changed. Following on from 6 years of growth in a row in the UK music industry, powered by music streams, has the UK continued to see more people listening in a year that begun in lockdown and saw a Summer of some semblance of normality?

The British Phonographic Industry have released their 2021 report, revealing how the last year in music looked. We can now confirm that the UK saw its seventh year of growth last year. Following 2020 – a year in lockdown – which saw streaming consumption leap up 8.2%, 2021 saw continued growth though less significant with a 5.7% rise in music streaming consumption.

Once again, music streaming led the way accounting for 83% of total music consumption in the UK last year. Streaming has been on the rise for many years now, and is largely responsible for the growth of the music industry following a devastating start to the century with the proliferation of music piracy. More than 147 billion song streams were made in the UK in 2021.

Listeners in the UK kept their hearts close to home as 8 of the top 10 most listened to artists in the region were UK artists, including: Adele, Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Dave, Elton John, Queen, and Fleetwood Mac. Both Adele and Ed Sheeran enjoyed more than half a billion streams throughout the year in the UK alone with more than a billion streams worldwide.

The BPI found that nearly 2,000 artists – 1,918 – were streaming over 10 million time in the UK throughout 2021. This is a 25% increase on the number of artists achieving that level of streams in 2020. This also means that nearly twice as many artists are earning “meaningful royalties” from their music than they would have been in the era of CD music.

Overall, music consumption in the UK has risen by 2.5% when including physical music sales like vinyl and CDs. This counts for music purchased and streaming consumption but BPI note does not necessarily reflect the growth in revenues. The revenues will be reported on by the BPI in Q1/Q2 2022.

We’re yet to get a full 2021 report for music in the United States. Looking at the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) first half report for the year, the US is on to a very strong year. They surpassed $5.9 billion by halfway through the year, 26% more than the first half of 2020. Streaming accounted for 84% of the US music consumption in the first half of 2021. The RIAA’s full report should be released soon.