“Music is on the right track”: UK recorded music revenues hit new high for the first time since 2001

Total music retail revenues for the 12-month period up to 23 February topped out at £2.223 billion.

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UK recorded music revenues have reached a new all-time high for the first time since 2001, marking a historic milestone for the music industry.

According to a report by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), total music retail revenues for the 12-month period up to 23 February topped out at an impressive £2.223 billion, outperforming the record set during the CD era. Those numbers, though, have not been adjusted for inflation.

Nevertheless, the new data shows an 8.65 per cent YoY increase over the same period in 2022-2023, when revenues amounted to £2.046 billion. UK recorded music revenue has also more than doubled since hitting historic lows of £1.020 billion in 2013.

ERA — the UK trade group for music retailers and streaming services — credits “booming streaming subscriptions and sales of vinyl albums” for the new record.

The UK music industry hit its previous peak in October 2001, when Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head ranked Number One on the UK’s singles chart and Gold – The Greatest Hits by STEPS topping the albums chart.

All of that changed, however, with the advent of Napster and the shift away from physical media — which gave way to rampant digital music piracy that massively eroded profits.

“This is a day many thought would never come,” ERA CEO Kim Bayley says in a statement. “It is a red-letter day for music and the artists and songwriters who soundtrack our lives. There’s still a long way to go, but these numbers show that thanks to the innovation and investment of streaming services, music is on the right track.”

The executive added that one shouldn’t “underestimate the seriousness of the plight the music industry faced in the decade following 2001”.

“It was an existential crisis. Luckily a new generation of music loving tech entrepreneurs were able to see a way to a new model, based on subscriptions rather than sales. Today draws a line under 2001 and highlights the fact that music sales have more than doubled since 2013. That’s great, but after 20 years of inflation, it’s still not enough.”


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