Report: UK streaming sector to be worth £1.4bn by 2022

Ed Sheeran

Music streaming is surging ahead in the UK – but we haven’t seen anything yet, according to a new report from PWC.

The professional services company’s annual Entertainment & Media Outlook report predicts that the value of digital music streaming will almost double from £779 million in 2018 to £1.4 billion in 2022. It also predicts that streaming revenue will overtake spending on live music tickets during that timeframe.

“The growth in music streaming shows no signs of slowing down,” said Mark Maitland, PWC’s head of entertainment & media. “We forecast revenues to increase by 19% year-on-year until 2022, as consumers move away from music ownership through downloads to music access via streaming. Over this same period, ticket sales for live music will remain largely flat, growing at 0.3% year-on-year and we forecast revenue from streaming to overtake live ticket sales in 2020.”

Streaming already accounts for more than 50% of UK music consumption, according to the BPI, and has helped the music biz return to growth in the last couple of years. At the moment, the biggest streaming numbers are associated with pop and urban artists such as Ed Sheeran, Drake and Post Malone, while other genres have struggled to gain traction at the format. For example, this week’s special edition Rock Issue of Music Week reveals that rock & metal streaming growth continues to lag the wider market.

Competition between streaming companies has become increasingly intense in recent months, something likely to grow even further if the report's predictions about the size of the prize prove accurate. Recent developments include Apple Music being on track to overtake Spotify in terms of number of US subscribers by the end of the year, while Amazon’s innovative use of voice-controlled streaming and YouTube’s new subscription service have also added to the sector’s heat. Spotify’s IPO saw the market-leading streaming service valued at more than $25bn.

Total music, radio and podcast revenue is forecast by PWC to rise by a more modest 3.2% over the time period, from £4.1bn in 2017 to £4.8bn. The entire UK entertainment and media sector will be worth £76bn by 2022, PWC say, up from £68bn at the end of this year. Other key growth areas include internet access and virtual reality, both of which are likely to play a key role in the future of the music business.

* To read Music Week’s analysis of what the fight for streaming supremacy means for the music business, click here. To read our full report into rock & metal streaming, see this week’s print edition of Music Week or click here. To subscribe and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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