Insights BPI publishes “2021 in Music” showing that recorded music consumption in the UK rose by 2.5% in 2021


The official BPI figures, based on Official Charts Company data, show that the rise in recorded music consumption in the UK in 2021 amounted to 159 million albums or their equivalent being either streamed or purchased across all formats.

The UK consumption total was made up primarily of streams, comprising over 147 billion individual audio streams, up 5.7% on 2020, and representing an equivalent of 132 million streamed albums (up 5.7%).

In 2021 nearly 2,000 artists (1,918) were streamed over 10 million times in the UK (excluding global streams, which tend to be four times greater). This compares with 1,798 in 2020 and 1,537 in 2019, up a quarter in two years. The BPI says that this means that nearly twice as many artists are now earning meaningful royalties as could do so in the CD era.

Additionally, there were over 14 million CDs and 5.3 million vinyl LPs purchased, with 185,000 cassettes sold and 4.6 million album downloads. Overall, streaming now accounts for 83% of UK music consumption, while vinyl LPs represent over a quarter of all purchases on physical format.

The figures also show that it was another strong year for homegrown talent, with UK artists Adele, Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Dave, Elton John, Queen and Fleetwood Mac accounting for eight of the year’s top ten albums. To read the BPI’s press release in full, click here.