Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Record companies see revenue rise


Music streaming is set to overtake physical sales as the biggest generator of income for the United Kingdom record industry, it has been reported.

"YouTube is contributing a meaningful and growing revenue stream for the industry".

Several key releases, including Ed Sheeran's latest album and Rag "N" Bone Man's Human, were credited with helping get the United Kingdom music industry off to a positive start to the year, as fans bought physical copies of their records as well as streaming them online.

According to the United Kingdom record companies' trade body BPI, combined revenues generated through streaming, music sales, performance rights and sync licensing rose by 5.1 percent to £926m previous year.

Subscriptions were the main component for streaming revenues, accounting for 87.1 percent of the annual market total of GBP 274 million.

Revenue for physical formats slipped to below £300m a year ago, this remained just above streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer, this figure sat at £274m. Though - because of the way song right licensing works - physical income usually includes the publishers' share, whereas digital does not, which slightly skews those figures.

However, many argue that the Google-owned video site should pay out far more revenue to artists and songwriters.

However, the BPI was cautious about the challenges the industry still faces, including piracy and the difference in revenue generated for artists and labels from services such as YouTube. The requirements of the creative industries must therefore be on the Brexit agenda, adds the BPI.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI and BRIT Awards, said: 'It's encouraging to see revenues rise significantly, as more and more consumers enjoy the benefits of subscribing to a premium streaming service or rediscover the joys of vinyl. He went on to say that while Britain's "world-leading" music industry has the potential for sustained future growth, it can only be realized with strong support from the government as it forges a path in post-Brexit Europe.

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor also warned of the uncertainties surrounding Brexit, arguing that United Kingdom artists needed to retain access to European Union markets after the UK's withdrawal.

"It means making sure that United Kingdom artists can tour freely in European Union markets and that United Kingdom businesses can access the best talent". And it means working with industry to boost exports by promoting strong IP protection in trade negotiations with third countries.

Taylor concludes: "UK record labels will continue to take huge risks backing emerging British talent and investing hundreds of millions of pounds annually to bring it to a global audience".

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