British recorded music exports increased by 11.1% to £364.6 million in 2016, according to figures compiled by the BPI.
Based on data from record label members, the figures show the strongest performance since the BPI began its annual survey in 2000. Exports have contributed nearly £4.4 billion to the UK’s overseas earnings since the turn of the millennium.
The growth reflects the global appeal of British music: UK artists accounted for one in every eight albums purchased around the world in 2016, according to the BPI. Last year’s strong figures were fuelled by global demand for Adele’s 25, Coldplay’s A Head Full Of Dreams and David Bowie’s catalogue. The Rolling Stones’ Blue & Lonesome was also a strong overseas performer.
As well as music sales, the BPI data includes income generated from PPL public performance royalties, synchronisation and other licensing income. British music exports are strongest in the US followed by Germany, France, Australia and Canada. BPI members are reporting gains in China, Turkey and South American territories, while India and South Korea also have the potential to become important overseas markets.
Exports look set to continue to perform strongly in 2017, thanks to albums from Ed Sheeran, Rag’N’Bone Man, Little Mix and Stormzy, as well as a forthcoming Sam Smith record.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI & BRIT Awards, commented: "With Britain leaving the EU, the UK needs businesses that are true global superstars. Music by brilliant British artists such as Ed Sheeran, Adele, David Bowie, Coldplay and Sam Smith is streamed and purchased the world over, boosting the UK’s balance of payments. The global digital streaming market represents a huge new opportunity. Government can help to seize that opportunity by making sure our artists can tour freely post-Brexit and that third countries robustly protect music rights.”
Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital at the Department for Digital, Culture, Sport & Media, said: "This fantastic economic success is a huge testament to the UK music industry and the wealth of talent and creativity underpinning it. Not only is music a crucial factor in bringing international investment to our shores but it is also the introduction to British culture for many people around the world.”
The UK government has provided support for export initiatives, including the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) funding for the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS). Government-backed trade missions organised by the BPI with AIM and the MPA have also promoted British music overseas.
The BPI will formally announce the latest figures at its London AGM today (September 7).