With Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa continuing to dominate the charts, the value of British music exports has hit an annual high for 2021, up 13.7 per cent to £590.8m.
According to music trade body British Phonographic Industry (BPI), ten of the UK’s 20 biggest music export markets experienced double-digit percentage growth in the previous year, led by China with a 61.2 per cent year-on-year increase.
While there were significant rises for territories where UK music has traditionally thrived, like the US and France, the increasing importance of Latin America to UK music exports was highlighted by a rise of 12.7 per cent overall.
The new peak has been largely driven by a record number of UK artists achieving over 100 million global streams, with 400 UK artists raking in the mega listens.
More than 600 UK artists achieved at least 50 million audio streams, while over 1,500 surpassed 10 million audio streams, generating significant annual income in addition to their earnings from the likes of tours and merchandise.
Physical and digital download sales, streams and other consumption of British music also increased in every region globally, including in Europe (up 17 per cent), North America (up 11 per cent) and Asia (up 11 per cent).
The news comes at a time when recent industry forecasts suggest worldwide recorded music trade revenues could double by 2030 from 2021 levels of $25.9bn.
Moreover, if the UK is able to match global streaming growth, BPI reckons British music exports could rise to £1bn or more by the end of the decade.
Despite the welcomed increase in export revenues, the UK’s share of the global market is under pressure from established markets that are consolidating their share of the world market, such as the US and Europe, as well as fast-growing domestic music markets like Latin America and South Korea.
Just this week, a cross-party group of MPs called on the government to appoint a touring “tsar” to fix the red tape faced by musicians following Brexit.
Since leaving the EU, musicians no longer get guaranteed visa-free travel across Europe, making it harder for smaller artists to tour internationally.
In a statement to the APPG inquiry, Sir Elton John said: “The Government has had a golden opportunity to fix the problem while Covid was closing down touring.
“While some progress has been made that opportunity has been allowed to slip. The heartbeat and future of our vibrant industry face finding themselves stranded in Dover through no fault of their own.”
The report has called for the government to set up a Cultural Touring Agreement to address the burdensome obstacles for touring artists.
Weighing in on the cross-party group, a BPI Spokesperson said.: “British music has thrived thanks largely to record labels being able to back UK talent globally and artists having the freedom to promote their art around the world.
Music can play a key role in the UK’s international trade strategy, so, along with backing for successful programmes like the Music Export Growth Scheme, it’s vital that any restrictions which limit the free flow of live touring are addressed to support long-term growth and the goal of doubling annual British music exports to £1bn by 2030″, they told City A.M.