UK record label revenues ticked up last year as the booming popularity of streaming services helped to offset the impact of the pandemic.
Recorded music revenue grew to £1.1bn in 2020, up 3.8 per cent on the previous 12 months and the highest level since 2006.
It is also the fifth consecutive year of growth, though the overall rate of growth slowed compared to 2019, according to industry body BPI.
The increase was fuelled mainly by streaming, which grew more than 15 per cent to bring in revenue of £736.5m.
Streaming now accounts for 80 per cent of music consumption in the UK, with the majority of revenue derived from subscriptions to platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.
Income from video streaming platforms such as Youtube grew by a quarter but at £43.8m remains just half the amount generated by vinyl records, which enjoyed their highest sales since 1989 amid a renaissance for the trendy format.
The strength of streaming helped to offset a sharp decline in revenue from both sync — where music is used in films, TV and advertising — and live performance as a result of the pandemic.
“The lockdowns inevitably affected financial results in 2020 but, unlike other parts of our industry which were hit very hard, the seamless connectivity of streaming and the enduring love of vinyl meant that recorded music was relatively insulated from its worst effects, and was still able to post growth,” said BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor.
“The safe and rapid reopening of live venues is the music community’s critical first priority, but the resilience of recorded music demonstrates the important role it plays in people’s lives even in the midst of the Covid pandemic.”
UK music consumption increased 8.2 per cent last year, fuelled by repeated lockdowns and a raft of fresh talent including Aitch, AJ Tracey and Headie One.
The figures come amid a parliamentary inquiry into the economics of streaming, which is examining complaints that artists and songwriters are not fairly rewarded by record labels and platforms.
The BPI, which represents the labels, has insisted that streaming provides a low barrier to entry and artists’ royalties are higher now than they were in the physical format age.