Insights BPI publishes data showing that more artists are reaping the rewards of streaming


The data reveal that around 1,800 artists achieved more than ten million streams in the UK alone in the past 12 months, 72% more than the total of 1,048 artists who achieved the equivalent 10,000 album sales in the CD, LP and download market of 2007. The figures also show that streaming has made the market more “democratic”: the top ten artists dominated less of streaming (5%) in 2020 than was the case for CD sales (13%) in 2005.

Moreover, global streaming data shows that the top 1,500 artists in the UK generate on average nine times as many streams outside the UK as they do at home. While consumption of British rap and hip hop, along with some rock, remains primarily UK-focused, many British artists are achieving exceptional international success, in particular in genres such as pop, dance and electronica, with 300 British artists now achieving 100 million global streams or more annually. Around 400 artists, drawn from rock and pop’s mainstream but increasingly also from rap, hip hop, dance and indie, were streamed more than 50 million times in the UK.

The BPI says that artists are receiving a higher share of revenues nowadays than they did in the CD era. As acknowledged by witnesses who have already appeared before the DCMS Select Committee, which is currently conducting an inquiry into music streaming (see item above), artist royalty rates are typically higher in streaming, commonly ranging between 20-30%, compared to CD era rates more typically at rates of 15%-20% of net Published Price to Dealer (PPD) (and subject to deductions).

The BPI says that on average, based on a typical £9.99 subscription to a streaming service, labels receive gross revenues of around £4.33, of which artists receive £1.33. Of the label’s remaining share of £3.00, costs represent £2.49 (including investment into artists such as A&R and global marketing), which leaves a label margin of £0.51. The remaining £5.67 is received by: the exchequer (VAT); the streaming service (DSP); and publishers and songwriters.

BPI notes that streaming is only one component of an artist’s income – the others include global income/exports, live (once active again), physical sales on CD and vinyl, royalties from broadcast and being played in public, merchandise, sync, and licensing.

The BPI, which comprises a membership of over 450 independent and major labels, says that it “believes strongly that rather than changing a model that is working well for so many, the focus should be on continuing to grow revenues from streaming and music consumption generally for the benefit of the wider music community, including artists and songwriters”.

In particular, the BPI believes the UK Government should “seek to introduce measures to derive more value from platforms, including: addressing issues with certain user-upload services, which return just a fraction of the value of premium services; combatting industrial-scale piracy, which continues to drain some £200 million annually from the UK recorded music economy; supporting British music’s potential to double the value of exports to £1 billion over the next decade; and encouraging inward investment into UK music”.

The BPI renews its call on Government for more action to “prioritise the return of the live music sector as speedily and safely as possible and to support venues, festivals and nightclubs until this can be achieved including through government backed insurance. In the BPI’s view, this is the most effective measure that can be taken to restore performer incomes which have suffered as a result of the pandemic”. To read the BPI’s press release in full, click here.