Prime Minister Hails Success of British Music As Global Sales Reach Almost £2bn In 2011

  • Prime Minister celebrates success of British music abroad
  • UK artists took 12.6% of global music sales in 2011, up from 11.8% in 2010, accounting for one in eight of all artist albums sold
  • British act claimed global best-selling album for the fourth time in five years
  • Adele sold 18 million copies of 21, accounting for an estimated 1.6% of all albums sold around the world

Sales of British music abroad reached £1.9 billion in retail value in 2011 with British artists accounting for almost 13% of global sales of recorded music, new BPI figures revealed today.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, welcomed the figures at the start of Music is GREAT week, saying:
"British music is loved all over the globe, and as a country we can be proud of the tremendous success of our music industry, which is a world leader.  We are determined to support British creative businesses that generate jobs and opportunities for young people."

Britain’s share of trade in recorded music is four times the UK’s overall share of world trade in goods (2.7%) and more than double its share of trade in services (6.2%), according to figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Sales in 2011 were boosted by Adele who became the fourth British artist in five years to claim the best-selling artist album in the world, following in the footsteps of Amy Winehouse, Coldplay, and Susan Boyle.
21 sold a staggering 18 million copies, accounting for 1.6% of all albums sold in the global music market.  The Someone Like You singer’s debut album 19 also climbed up the charts to become the 6th biggest seller of the year, three years after its release.
In the world’s biggest and most competitive market, the USA, British artists – including Tinie Tempah, Florence + the Machine, Hugh Laurie and Mumford & Sons - accounted for a record share of albums sales this century with one in eight albums sold (11.7%) produced by a UK act.
In neighbouring Canada, the popularity of British artists soared by over 20% to 16.2%, accounting for one in six of every artist album sold.
Commenting on the success of British music abroad BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said,
“Britain makes great music – and the world is tuning in.  From the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to Coldplay and Adele, our global success helps the reputation of Britain overseas and generates jobs here in the UK.

"This success is due to the creativity of our artists, but also because we have an innovative, risk-taking music industry in Britain that helps our artists reach billions of fans around the globe.
 "Music is one of the things that makes Britain great. Government support for the British music industry is pivotal to maintaining the UK’s position as the second most important producer of music in the world.”

In Europe, British acts bagged their biggest share of the UK market since 1997 taking 52.7% of artist album sales at home.  The popularity of British music also increased in France, rising to 17.0% of the albums market, with releases from Muse, Seal, and James Blunt performing well.
In Asia, rock accounted for the lion’s share of British sales in the Japanese market.  Beady Eye’s debut album and Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto were the biggest sellers by UK artists.  New acts also made an impression with chart success for debutants Jessie J, The Vaccines and The View.


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1. Calculating Global Share of Recorded Music
BPI has completed a market analysis of album sales in the top seven markets of the world.  In total, the USA, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Australia and Canada account for $13 billion at trade values, which represent 79.5% of the global total of $16.3 billion according to IFPI’s recently published Recording Industry in Numbers 2012. 

To arrive at a share of the world market for UK repertoire, BPI has made conservative estimates of UK shares of other territories.  For the rest of the world which accounts for only 10.9% of global revenues, a share of 3% has been attributed.

The analysis is based on artist album sales and the estimated share of world revenues assumes that artist share is representative of the compilations and singles market, as well as performance rights.

This calculation gives British artists a share of 12.6% of global music industry revenue up from 11.8% in 2010.  If the UK were to be excluded from this analysis, British acts would account for 8.8% of all sales outside the UK, up from 8.3% in 2010.

IFPI's measure of the world music market placed a value of US$23.3 billion in 2011. Applying the UK's share of 12.6% of sales suggests that the retail value of recordings from UK artists sold around the world is worth almost $3bn (£1.9bn).

2. BIS Statistics on the UK Share of Global Goods and Services ExportsIn February the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) published a paper on UK trade performance across different markets and sectors. It found that the UK’s share of global services exports stood at 6.2% in 2010, the third highest share behind the US and Germany. The UK’s share of goods exports is lower at 2.7%. Placed in this context, the performance of UK music abroad is remarkable, as the 12% share takes into account music in every country that is produced and sold domestically.

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