The British Music Industry is one of the most developed music industries in the world, contributing significantly to the economic coffers of the home country. In 2015, for example, the industry contributed £4.1 billion to the economy of the UK, according to UK Music, the body that represents the collective interests of the country’s commercial music industry.
Of the £4.1 billion realized, £2.2 billion came from music exports. The success of British artists like Adele, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith on the international music scene is an indication of how well British artists are faring.
The report also indicates that one in six of all artists’ albums sold in the world in the year 2015 belonged to a UK artist, and half of the top-selling albums that year came out of Britain. This shows the aggressiveness of UK artists; they are pushing really hard to take over the global market. The question is, are they going to maintain that momentum? Only time will tell.
The shift to online streaming, necessitated by growth in the digital world, has also helped to catapult UK artists to greater heights.
This has also helped to offset declines in other markets. The digital market in the UK was valued at £251 million in 2015, a significant growth from £168 million in 2014. British artists are at the forefront of embracing this new technology to impact global markets.
According to Jo Dipple the Chief Executive of UK music, this favorable performance can be attributed to the strength and resilience of UK artists. However, she notes that the UK needs to solidify its new post-Brexit place in the world and music is expected to play a major role in achieving that.
Reports by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), on the other hand, show a similar story. They state that, of all recorded music sold worldwide, 12% belongs to British artists not bad! The world’s biggest music market, the US, has British artists commandeering 10% of all albums sold, while in their homeland of the UK, half of albums sold belong to British artists.
British artists are also regularly taking top spots on the global music standard charts like the US Billboard Chart. For instance, Adele, Marsha Ambrosius and Mumford & Sons featured in the top 3 position in the US Billboard chart in March of 2011, which was referred to as the ‘British Invasion’ by MTV.
Live performances also indicate a positive trend in the export of talent. More than 767,000 overseas music tourists traveled to the UK in 2015 to attend live performances which boosted UK coffers by around £1.1bn. This represents a 35% growth from the previous year.
On the other hand, British artists did impressively well by exporting 8.9% of their recorded music. One of the artists who continues to make headlines in the global music industry is Adele. Her third album ‘25’ continues to register massive sales worldwide, with figures currently standing above 20 million copies and counting already certified 10x Platinum in the UK. It seems UK artists are raising the bar higher and higher in global markets.
London lacks a night-life champion like other European cultural capitals like France and Berlin. Developers are required to pay for soundproofing if building apartments near established music venues. Such are some of the tough rules existing in retail which could curtail the growth of local talent, but these have not dampened the efforts of the British artists. They have countered this by diversifying to global markets where there are plenty of opportunities for nightlife and it has paid off.
We also need to congratulate UK artists for their leading role in popularizing various musical genres. For example, they inherited house and techno from the US, repackaged it, popularized it and sold it to the world. What a clever way for UK artists to make money from someone else blood, sweat and tears!
Remember, rhythm and blues (R&B) also originated from the US, but the likes of Beatles and the Rolling Stones did what UK artists do best while the US innovated and slept, the UK inherited it and exported it to the world. On the other hand, this might just mean that whatever British artists touch turns to gold and will be accepted globally.