Entertainment & Arts

Sales of recorded music continue to fall

Adele and Coldplay Image copyright AP
Image caption Acts like Adele and Coldplay ensured that British artists made up five of the top 10 best-sellers in the world last year

The success of acts like Adele and Coldplay was not enough to reverse a fall in revenue from recorded music in 2015, industry figures show.

One out of every six albums sold around the world was by a British artist, but the money generated for the UK economy dropped from £615m in 2014 to £610m.

The value of live music also fell from £924m to £910m, UK Music said.

However, the total contribution of the UK music business to the British economy remained static, at £4.1bn.

Money earned through publishing and licensing songs to films and advertisements helped make up the shortfall; while the money earned by British producers and recording studios rose from £116m to £119m.

Overall, music industry revenues grew just 0.5% in 2015, falling behind GDP growth.

However, UK Music said the business was "strong" and "resilient", having recorded growth of 17% since 2012, outpacing the economy as a whole.

"There is every sign that the recorded sector will return to growth in 2016," said chairman Andy Heath, pointing to the continued success of Adele's album, as well as increased vinyl sales and higher revenues from streaming services.

Recorded music revenues (source: UK Music)
Year Revenue
2012 £634m
2013 £618m
2014 £615m
2015 £610m

The money generated by subscription streaming - from the likes of Spotify, Google Play and Apple Music - leapt by £83m, from £168m to £251m.

UK Music said the figure would be higher if free-to-access sites like YouTube paid fairer rates.

"The revenues from certain ad-funded digital services... effectively devalue our music," said Heath.

"The challenge is to convince all services to properly value the brilliantly gifted music we make available."

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