Official figures released by record labels’ association the BPI show that more artists are succeeding as streaming and the music industry boomed in 2021.
In 2021, nearly 2000 artists were streamed over 10 million times in the UK. This compares with 1,798 in 2020 and 1,537 in 2019, up a quarter in two years. It also means nearly twice as many artists are now earning meaningful royalties as they could in the the CD era.
For an artist, 10 million streams generates at least the same royalties as 10,000 CD sales, and nearly 2,000 artists will achieve at least 10 million streams this year in the UK alone – nearly double the number who sold the equivalent number of CDs and downloads in 2007.
It also comes against the backdrop of a wider industry growth, with the total UK recorded music consumption up by 2.5 per cent in 2021, according to Official Charts Company data.
Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, commented on the findings: “As our lives continue to be disrupted, the past 12 months have reminded us again of the important role that recorded music plays in our lives.”
“At the same time, the rise of streaming has empowered more artists than ever – from all backgrounds and eras – to build new fanbases around the world and to forge successful careers in music, while record labels have continued to provide the investment and support needed for British talent to thrive and reach a truly global audience.”
In June 2021, the UK witnessed its first week when audio streams topped the 3 billion mark – a feat since repeated three times in December.
Streaming currently accounts for well over four-fifths of UK music, and eight of the best-selling artist albums were British, led by Adele and Ed Sheeran – both of whom achieved over half a billion streams in 2021 in the UK alone and billions more streams globally.