As consumption data and revenue figures emerge for the music industry’s 2020, we’ll get a fuller picture of the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact. Early out of the blocks, as usual, is British industry body the BPI, with data showing that music consumption rose by 8.2% in the UK last year – a sixth consecutive year of growth – including 139bn audio streams, up by 22%.

If you’re wondering, the corresponding growth for 2019 was 25.6% to 114.2bn audio streams. Given the ongoing parliamentary inquiry into streaming’s impact on musicians, it’s interesting to see that one of the BPI’s key points in its figures release concerns the scale of streams for artists.

The body’s release noted that nearly 200 artists were streamed more than 100m times in the UK in 2020, with the top 10 each doing more than 500m. Meanwhile, 8,000 artists surpassed 1m streams last year in the UK, with “more than six times as many artists achieving 100,000 streams as the equivalent number of sales in 2007”.

The BPI sees this intensifying competition as supporting the need for labels, their marketing expertise and A&R investment. “It is harder than ever for artists to achieve success – so that continued support and investment from record labels in marketing and production is crucial,” said boss Geoff Taylor.

Tom Gray, founder of the Broken Record campaign, had already been taking the BPI (well, its major label members) to task with an alternative view before the figures were released. The debate over streaming, labels and artists continues, and watch out for more arguments and counter-arguments this month as the parliamentary inquiry continues – especially when submissions from the various parties are published.

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