The Brag Media
News September 7, 2018

BPI report: British music hit record export revenues of £408.4m, with one in eight albums sold globally

Staff Writer
BPI report: British music hit record export revenues of £408.4m, with one in eight albums sold globally

British music exports hit a record high, last year rising 12% to earnings of £408.4 million (A$734.8 million) by UK record labels from overseas markets.

The figures were released by the London-based British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which added that since 2000, overseas revenues have brought in a total of over £5 billion ($8.99 billion)

Its CEO Geoff Taylor said, “British music is riding high once again around the world, boosted by the talent of our artists and songwriters and the innovation and investment of record labels.

“Our music not only enriches the lives of fans around the world, it makes a major contribution to the UK economy through overseas sales and by attracting numerous visitors to the UK.”

Taylor issued a warning that the government’s negotiation had to take responsibility for its continued growth.

“With Brexit approaching, music can help to showcase what is exciting about the UK as we forge new trading relationships – but only if our government supports us by ensuring a strong Brexit deal that enables artists to tour freely, robustly protects music rights, and prevents physical music products being impeded in transit.”

The huge figures for 2017 were predominantly from the sales of Ed Sheeran’s Divide, which sold 6.1 million copies worldwide (excluding streams).

He was the world’s biggest selling artist globally last year.

Other British acts who made the top 10 global best sellers were Rag’n’Bone Man’s debut Human (#4 highest), Sam Smith’s The Thrill Of it All (#5) and Harry Styles’ self-titled debut.

Eighteen years ago, when the BPI started to collect data on global revenues, UK labels were bringing in £363.7 million ($645.5 million) from abroad.

Taking into account payments made overseas, UK labels generated a net £200 million ($359.9 million) balance of payments surplus for the UK economy in 2017, up by more than a fifth (+23%) on 2016.

The 2017 growth was on top of an 11% rise to £364 million ($654.9 million) in 2016.

According to the BPI, UK artists accounted for one in every eight albums consumed globally in 2017.

The association attributed the strength of the country’s music to “the relentless investment in A&R new artist development and the marketing expertise of innovative British record labels, it helps to explain why the UK keeps punching above its weight as the world’s largest exporter of recorded music after the US.”

The UK’s biggest music market remains Europe as a whole, (with a total 42% translating to £165 million or $298.8 million) while the US is the biggest single national market with a 35% share.

In Europe, Germany’s appetite for British music grew by 9%, with France following at 5% Italy up 22% and Spain expanding by 33%.

The biggest-single rise in exports growth since 2015 came in China (+432%), admittedly from a lower base, with an encouraging five-fold increase in revenues.

There were also notable results in Brazil (+57%) and in India (+120%) over this two year-period – “underlining the growing importance of Asian and Latin American markets to British music,” BPI said.

The British government has helped with schemes as the Music Export Growth Scheme which has now distributed over £3 million ($5.39 million) to around 200 music exports projects since February 2014.

Trade missions to LA and new markets as China, India, Africa and South America have also paid dividends.


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