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Music industry in the United Kingdom - statistics & facts

Digital music has been taking the world by storm, nearly tripling its market share according to a comparison report between 2010 and 2019. Having accounted for only 26.3 percent of the music industry ten years ago (a year after Spotify launched in the UK), digital rose to make up 77.5 percent of the music sector’s spend by 2019. The UK is estimated to be the biggest digital music market in Europe, with a revenue of approximately 1 billion U.S. dollars estimated by the end of 2020. When it comes down to formats - downloads and streams, the latter dominates. Having brought in at least three times the revenue of music downloads since 2017, streaming’s share is expected to rise year-on-year until 2025. Meanwhile, revenue from downloads will remain largely the same.

YouTube is top music streaming site

In a 2018 survey YouTube was listed as the top platform used to stream and access music, with a 59 percent respondent share – beating Spotify in second place by 17 percent. When it came to choosing a music streaming service, sound quality and affordability seem to be consumers’ top priorities according to an early 2020 survey. Ease of use (downloading, playlist creation, music discovery) also rated highly on the list of important features. All of this leads to the question – how are brick and mortar shops doing? Not too well it seems, as revenue from physical retail stores continue to drop year after year. Amounting to 432.3 million British pounds in 2012, this had fallen to 180.7 million in 2019 after a continual yearly decline.

Music tourism in the UK

London and the North West draw the largest number of music tourists in the UK. Unsurprisingly, both locations are home to the UK’s two largest indoor arenas – Manchester Arena and the O2 in London. As the second largest music sector in the country, the live music industry was significantly hit in 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic. As the lockdown begins to lift, attendees expressed that social distancing measures such as limiting the number of guests and avoidance of long queues would help them feel more comfortable attending events at venues again.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 32 most important statistics relating to "Music industry in the United Kingdom (UK)".


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