London, U.K. (January 28, 2016)—A surge in music streaming, a 21-year high in vinyl sales and a smaller than expected drop in demand for CDs drove a nearly four percent rise in U.K. music consumption in 2015.
Figures released by U.K. labels trade body BPI based on Official Charts Company data show that UK music consumption in 2015 corresponded to a retail value of £1.1 billion. The market was buoyed by the continuing surge in audio streaming, which grew by 82 percent in volume, and was helped also by resilient demand for music on CD, which dropped 3.9 percent on the previous year, less than many commentators would have expected. LP unit sales of 2.1 million vinyl represent a 21-year high.
Using the standard music industry Album Equivalent Sales (AES) metric to calculate overall music consumption, equating 10 individual tracks sold with the sale of one album, a total of 121.6 million albums were either purchased on physical format, digitally downloaded or consumed via streaming by U.K. music fans in 2015, up on 117.2 million in 2014.
Much of this success was again delivered by British artists, who dominated the Official Charts with seven of the top-10 best-selling artist albums recorded by a home grown act in 2015 and 15 of the top 20, including BRITs 2015 Critics Choice recipient James Bay, whose debut Chaos and the Calm sold over half a million copies (#8 overall).
Various records were broken by Adele's 25. In just six weeks, 25 sold 2.5 million copies in the U.K., the first multi-million album release in a calendar year since Adele herself achieved the feat with 21 in 2011. Adele's #1 chart success is the 11th year in a row the U.K.'s best-selling artist album has come from a British artist.
Adele reasserted her dominance of the US market too, registering more than 7 million sales of 25 since its release in November. Worldwide, the album has now sold around 15 million copies, making it 2015's biggest and fastest global best-seller.