National lockdowns have inspired entertainment revenues to grow at their fastest rate since records began.
According to preliminary data from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), entertainment revenues for music, video and games grew by 16.8% to £9.05 billion in 2020.
The growth was driven by digital services, who saw revenues increase by £1.45bn year-on-year to a new high of £7.81bn.
Video services like by Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video increased revenues by 37.7% from the previous year, while music subscriptions helped recorded music revenues produce their best result since 2006 - a total of £1.55bn (up 6.8% year-on-year).
Music streaming revenues were up 15.5% year-on-year to £1.21bn - more than the entire value of recorded music was worth in 2016.
Physical music had a more challenging time during last year's lockdowns. Physical sales declined by 14.6% to £271.6 million; but it was a mixed picture with CD sales down 28% and vinyl LP sales up by 13.3%. Vinyl now accounts for more than 40% of the physical music market.
If there was ever a year in which we needed entertainment, it was 2020,
The video games market exceeded revenues of £4bn for the first time ever.
Overall, more than 80 pence in the pound spent on entertainment now goes to digital services rather than physical formats.
“If there was ever a year in which we needed entertainment, it was 2020," said ERA CEO Kim Bayley. "The trend towards an increasingly digital entertainment market may be long established, but no one could have foreseen this dramatic leap as digital services filled the gap left by shuttered cinemas, concert halls and retail stores. With much of the country shut down, ERA’s members provided a welcome revenue stream for thousands of musicians, actors, directors and countless backroom staff."
Read Music Week's interview with ERA's Bayley on how the pandemic restrictions have impacted music retail sales.