Record company revenues at record high


It’s been a record year. Image by the Nationaal Archief

UK record companies post five-year earnings high, as Britain combines platforms from the past and future when consuming its music

2016 saw UK record companies’ revenue peaking at a record high of £926m, a rise of 5.1% from 2015s’ figures. The spike in revenue is a result of combined takings from streaming, downloads, physical sales and licensing for use in films, TV and computer games.

The rise could be linked to record companies starting to find their feet in the digital age, with streaming the main contributor to growth. But a new-found love of vinyl saw its revenue increase by two thirds.

Overall sales of physical formats dropped again, making less than £300m in 2016. But, surprisingly, sales remained above the £274m made by streaming services. This is expected to change in 2017, with streaming revenues increasing more than 60% last year and making up almost a third of label revenues. This trend is predicted to continue.

The figures were released by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), an organisation that represents the UK’s recorded music industry. The BPI have said that record companies could increase earnings by making better use of platforms such as YouTube.

YouTube paid out more than $1bn to the music industry globally from advertising during 2016. But artists and songwriters argue that they should be receiving much more from the Google-owned video site.

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