UK Music Industry Exports Cracked £590.8 Million In 2021, Report Says — As 400 Artists Generated 100 Million+ Streams Each

London, England. Photo Credit: Benjamin Davies

British recorded music exports cracked an all-time high of £590.8 million (currently $706.85 million) in 2021, according to newly released data, as a record number of UK artists racked up north of 100 million streams apiece.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) revealed these and other UK music industry stats in a report today. Worth reiterating at the outset is that a parliamentary committee last year finished a comprehensive investigation into the contemporary music space – and called for a “complete reset” of streaming economics at the probe’s conclusion.

Bearing in mind this recommendation and the firmly worded criticism offered by members of the music community throughout the inquiry, much of the BPI’s analysis emphasizes the achievements of “emerging and breakthrough artists” and indie labels themselves.

“The scale and variety of UK artists achieving hundreds of millions of global streams each year goes far beyond the obvious superstar names,” the document reads in part, also stressing that “many less familiar and new British artists from across the nations and regions of the UK are now achieving tens of millions of global streams each year.”

Regarding the UK music industry’s international revenue and stream totals, however, the BPI disclosed a 13.7 percent year-over-year jump in the former category, to the initially mentioned £590.8 million.

By market, overall consumption of British music (including streaming, physical, and downloads) hiked by 17.6 percent in Europe, 11 percent in North America, and 11.1 percent in Asia during 2021, per the organization.

About half of the biggest global markets for UK music consumption experienced double-digit growth (in music enjoyed from UK artists) last year, the entity likewise indicated, including a 61.2 percent YoY bump for China, which accounted for £12.2 million ($14.60 million) and ranked ninth.

2021 UK music consumption value and YoY growth in other markets includes: £228.7 million/$273.64 million for the U.S. (up 10.4 percent from 2021), £55.9 million/$66.89 million for Germany (up 31.3 percent), £36.8 million/$44.03 million for France (up 20.1 percent), £26.7 million/$31.94 million for Australia (up 8.5 percent), £20.1 million/$24.05 million for Canada (up 18 percent), and £19.6 million/$23.45 million for Japan (down 3.2 percent).

Specifically on the streaming front, the BPI stated that more than 200 UK artists generated at least 200 million streams each in 2021, compared to the almost 400 UK artists that scored over 100 million worldwide streams apiece. Additionally, 600 artists secured 50 million streams on the year, and 1,500 professionals hit 10 million streams, the report shows.

Finally, the UK artists with the most streams in 2021 – but not a top 40 single or a top 10 album domestically – include Asking Alexandria (2.82 million monthly listeners on Spotify), Honne (4.50 million monthly listeners on Spotify), Banners (6.71 million), James TW (5.54 million), Bishop Briggs (3.67 million), Lovejoy (1.65 million), Cavetown (7.76 million), Novo Amor (4.94 million), Ella Mai (6.78 million), and Wilbur Soot (1.70 million).