A boom in audio streaming and the enduring album format has helped boost UK music consumption for the fourth consecutive year, new BPI figures reveal.
A total of 142.9 million albums were either streamed, purchased on physical format or downloaded over the past 12 months, according to the record music industry trade body.
This represents a 5.7 per cent rise on the 2017 figure of 135.1 million, with an estimated retail value of £1.33bn for 2018.
Elsewhere, the BPI confirms that streaming now accounts for nearly two-thirds of music consumption, with Britain hitting the two billion weekly streams milestone last month (December).
Demand throughout the year was driven by 91 billion audio streams served through Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and other audio streaming services.
This represents a 33.5 percent rise on 2017 and a 2,350 percent increase since 2012.
Audio streaming now accounts for nearly two thirds (63.6 percent) of all UK domestic music consumption.
In 2019, the BPI predicts the UK will surpass the 100 billion streams milestone, helped by new streaming services which have come online including YouTube Music, which launched in the UK in June 2018.
The BPI has also confirmed that combined UK sales and streams of recorded music have now grown by over a fifth (22 percent) since 2014.
UK artists accounted for half of the top 20 best-selling artist albums in 2018, with George Ezra’s double-platinum Staying At Tamara’s the biggest-selling album released in 2018.
Other successful albums included Ed Sheeran’s Divide, Dua Lipa’s Dua Lipa, Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquillity Base Hotel + Casino, Rag‘n’Bone Man’s Human, Rod Stewart’s Blood Red Roses and Jess Glynne’s Always in Between.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI and BRIT Awards, said: ‘2018 saw another strong performance from the British recorded music business as consumers deepen their engagement with music in its myriad forms. Complemented by collectible physical formats on vinyl, CD and super deluxe box sets, streaming services are enabling more people to discover, enjoy and instantly share music they love.
‘Britain’s innovative labels are playing a key role in nurturing the new talent, such as BRITs 2019 Critics’ Choice recipient, Sam Fender, that continually refreshes fans’ engagement with music.
‘But, as we are already seeing, including with the news that HMV has gone into administration, continuing growth could be put at risk if a hard Brexit further harms consumer confidence or government fails to ensure that all platforms using music pay fairly for it. If these risks are avoided, British music remains poised for further growth.’