'Ed Sheeran helped push the market on': BPI's Geoff Taylor on how streaming bucked the trend in Q3

'Ed Sheeran helped push the market on': BPI's Geoff Taylor on how streaming bucked the trend in Q3

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor has told Music Week that the UK market is on course to pass 100 billion streams in 2019.

It follows a spectacular streaming result for Q3, during which the BPI recorded an acceleration in SEA year-on-year growth to 29%. As reported in the latest issue of Music Week, it was the first quarter-on-quarter increase in the rate of growth in two years.

For the year to date, the UK market has racked up 84.4 billion audio streams. It took until the second week of December to reach that level in 2018, and puts the market on course for its first ever 11-figure streaming total. Last year’s streaming tally was 91 billion.

“We’re pretty confident that we should smash through that,” Taylor told Music Week. “We would certainly hope that we’ll be well past the 100 billion barrier – and that's pretty astonishing. That's a huge number of streams for everybody in this country.

“Streaming has absolutely connected in terms of being a format that fans find meets their needs. We get great feedback about their experience on subscription streaming services, and it's really encouraging that the funnel is still working from the free streaming services into paid subscription.”

100 billion is a huge number of streams for everybody in this country

Geoff Taylor

The strong showing of catalogue releases from Queen, Fleetwood Mac and Elton John in the biggest-selling titles of the year to date from the Official Charts Company suggests that streaming subscriptions are reaching a wider demographic.

Taylor added: “Those [streaming] numbers continue to develop strongly and more people, including some older consumers, are coming to see the benefit of it. And that's really good for the health of the industry.”

But while the overall market performance has been impressive, Taylor credited the role of artists including Ed Sheeran in helping that SEA result buck the trend. Until Q3 2019, the rate of growth had been steadily slowing for a couple of years as the streaming market showed signs of maturing.

“It clearly is partly the release schedule,” said Taylor. “The Ed Sheeran album has done tremendously. Both as an album and with the individual singles, that has definitely helped to push the market on. But what encourages me most is that we've seen a good performance from relatively new British talent. Lewis Capaldi is doing tremendously well and so is Tom Walker. Dave has been pushed on by his Mercury win.”

Sheeran’s summer release No.6 Collaborations Project has already become the third biggest seller so far this year, just behind Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent. The Greatest Showman is still No.1 overall.

Debut album artists including Sam Fender, Jax Jones and AJ Tracey have also made a streaming impact.

“There's some great music coming through from British artists, and that always engages consumers,” said Taylor. “So I feel like the business is in a confident place, we're going into Q4 looking forward to what, overall, should be a strong year.”

To read the full Q3 news report pick up the latest issue – or subscribers can click here. And click here and here for our National Album Day coverage.

Look out for the full Q3 analysis in next week’s issue. To subscribe and never miss a big industry story, click here.

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