A new analysis from the BPI reveals that one in every 10 songs (10.1%) streamed around the world is by a British artist.
The UK’s share of global streaming is more than four times greater than its share of global GDP (2.2%).
The BPI carried out the analysis based on the music charts of 14 major music markets (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA), which together account for around three quarters of global recorded music consumption.
The labels’ trade body said that the result “highlights the extraordinary global influence of British music”.
Streaming services’ accessibility and the worldwide promotion by labels mean that more British artists are now connecting with more fans to build international careers. Music markets previously out of reach – notably in Asia, South America and Africa – have become accessible thanks to DSPs’ global customer base and record labels’ digital marketing.
It also means that newly-signed artists can now expect to have a more immediate international impact than previous generations.
Songs by established British superstars such as Ed Sheeran, Adele, Sam Smith, Calvin Harris, Harry Styles and Coldplay achieve billions of streams – as do classic songs by iconic acts including Queen and The Beatles.
Streaming has also opened up global opportunities for the new wave of British talent, including Music Week’s Artist Of The Year for 2020 Dua Lipa, Lewis Capaldi (our 2019 Artist Of The Year), Stormzy, Anne-Marie, George Ezra, Ellie Goulding, Rag’N’Bone Man and The 1975.
Fellow UK artists including Jorja Smith, Joel Corry, Gerry Cinnamon, Dave, Aitch, AJ Tracey, Headie One, J Hus and KSI are also achieving hundreds of millions of streams each year in the UK and beyond.
A new wave of homegrown talent, backed by labels’ support, is taking British culture and business to every corner of the world
However, the impact of streaming has opened up a debate about the levels of remuneration for artists and songwriters at all levels. The DCMS Committee has launched an inquiry into the economics of streaming.
The BPI said that its analysis “demonstrates how the UK continues to punch well above its weight as the world’s second-leading exporter of music and third-largest recorded music market”. The US is both No.1 exporter and market (Japan is the second largest recorded music market).
Despite ongoing concerns about Brexit across the industry, the BPI suggested there was a “huge opportunity for British music exports to grab a growing share of burgeoning new markets”, enabled by labels’ artist development and marketing efforts, as well as streaming’s global reach.
According to the BPI, the major labels alone signed 153 artists in the UK in 2019 (up 38% on 2010), contributing to a total roster of 640 acts signed to majors in the UK – up 68% on 2010.
In 2019, investment in A&R by independent and major labels rose to above £250 million. UK labels spent over £150m on international marketing and promotion in 2019 so acts could make an impact in the global streaming market.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, BRITs and Mercury Prize, said: “As the UK charts its new course as an independent trading nation, music serves as a symbol of the UK’s economic potential and creativity. A new wave of homegrown talent, backed by labels’ support, is taking British culture and business to every corner of the world. This is a new tune for a new age of opportunity. We are excited by the possibilities that streaming offers for our artists and for the continuing growth of British music.”