UK recorded music market growth continues with 147 billion streams in 2021

10 Jan 2022


Recorded music consumption in the UK increased by 2.5% year-on-year in 2021, with 159.3 million albums or their equivalent either streamed or purchased across all formats.

The Album Equivalent Streams (AES) figure covering sales and streams reported by the BPI, based on Official Charts Company data, was up on the 155.4m albums equivalent figure in 2020 (a 53-week year compared to 52 weeks in 2021, which will have had a slight impact on this year’s result). It represents a seventh consecutive year of growth.


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During 2021, consumption was powered by streaming, comprising more than 147 billion individual audio streams, which represents an equivalent of 132.4 million streamed albums (up 5.7% year-on-year). In June 2021 the OCC registered the first week when audio streams topped the three billion mark – a feat since repeated three times in December.

Streaming now accounts for 83.1% of the recorded music market in unit terms. The label revenue figures will follow later this year.

There are signs of maturity in the UK streaming market with double-digit year-on-year increases in audio streaming volumes no longer set to be a regular feature. For comparison, the 2020 AES figure (comprising all consumption including physical) was up 8.2%, while streaming equivalent albums (SEA) were up 20.2% year-on-year in 2020. In 2019, the SEA streaming growth was 26%.

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