British artists, blockbuster film soundtracks, vibrant streaming growth & resilient demand for physical formats combine to fuel a near 6% rise in music consumption in 2018 – the fourth year of growth in a row.

Official figures released by record labels’ association the BPI, based on Official Charts Company data, underline the continuing strength and depth of recorded music in 20181, with UK consumption across all formats (combined) growing for a fourth consecutive year.

A total of 142.9 million albums or their equivalent2 were either streamed, purchased on physical format, and/or downloaded over the past 12 months – corresponding to a 5.7 per cent rise on the 2017 135.1m figure, and an estimated retail value of £1.33 billion3. Combined UK sales and streams of recorded music have now grown by over a fifth (22%) since 2014. See Table 1 in Notes to Editors.

This continued growth builds on the strong market performance of recent years shaped by exceptional demand for Ed Sheeran’s Divide album in 2017 (3.2m lifetime sales) and Adele’s 25 in 2016 (3.5m). It has also been achieved in the face of an increasingly challenging retail trading environment and uncertain consumer confidence, as underlined by HMV recently going into administration. Whilst 2018 may not have witnessed global smashes on quite the same epic ‘Ed’ and ‘Adele’ scale, the sheer breadth and depth of the music now being streamed along with continued purchasing of new and catalogue releases on physical format encourages the view that more people are consuming more music than ever before.

UK artists accounted for half of the top-20 best-selling artist albums in 2018, with George Ezra’s double-Platinum Staying At Tamara’s (No.2) the biggest-selling album released in 2018. It led another successful year for British artists ahead of Ed Sheeran Divide, Dua Lipa Dua Lipa, Arctic Monkeys Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, Rag‘n’Bone Man Human, Rod Stewart Blood Red Roses, Queen Bohemian Rhapsody – OST, Jess Glynne Always in Between, Paloma Faith The Architect, and Take That Odyssey. Seventeen of the top-30 overall were by British acts also including Sam Smith The Thrill Of It All, Little Mix LM5, and Anne-Marie’s Speak Your Mind, which was the year’s biggest-selling debut – BRIT Certified Gold with over 160,000 sales.

Music consumption was further boosted by the exceptional performance of blockbuster movie cast recordings in 2018, not least The Greatest Showman, which, though released in December 2017, was the year’s biggest-selling title4, selling well over twice the number of copies as its nearest rival and occupying the No.1 spot for almost half the year5, beating Adele’s record for non-consecutive weeks at No.1 in the process. The first movie soundtrack to top the year-end album charts since Saturday Night Fever in 1978, The Greatest Showman also spawned spin-off Sing-a-long and Reimagined versions (the latter with contributions from various British artists including Anne-Marie, Craig David, James Arthur, Jess Glynne and Years & Years).

The year’s top-10 artist albums also featured Abba’s iconic songs in the Cast Recording of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (No.4), and Grammy-nominated tracks by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in the Cast Recording of A Star Is Born (No.7). Queen’s catalogue benefited from the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic, with the film’s Original Soundtrack (No.13) appearing in the top-50 with The Platinum Collection and Greatest Hits. With biopics of Elton John and others due in 2019, the ‘music & film’ theme looks set to continue.
North American acts additionally featured in the top-10 best-selling albums, led by Drake Scorpion, Post Malone Beerbongs & Bentleys, Michael Bublé Love, and Eminem – who had three albums in the top-40 – his 2018 release Kamikaze, Curtain Call – The Hits, and Revival. Ariana Grande Sweetener, and Abba Gold – Greatest Hits, stimulated by the Mamma Mia film, also enjoyed top-20 success.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards said:

“2018 saw another strong performance from the British recorded music business as consumers deepen their engagement with music in its myriad forms. Complemented by collectible physical formats on vinyl, CD and super deluxe box sets, streaming services are enabling more people to discover, enjoy and instantly share music they love. Music’s global reach is also being extended by blockbuster movie soundtracks, such as ‘The Greatest Showman’, ‘A Star is Born’, ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’, and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

“Britain’s innovative labels are playing a key role in nurturing the new talent, such as BRITs 2019 Critics’ Choice recipient, Sam Fender, that continually refreshes fans’ engagement with music. But, as we are already seeing, including with the news that HMV has gone into administration, continuing growth could be put at risk if a hard Brexit further harms consumer confidence or Government fails to ensure that all platforms using music pay fairly for it6. If these risks are avoided, British music remains poised for further growth.”

Streaming accounts for nearly two-thirds of UK music consumption; 2 billion weekly streams milestone

Demand in 2018 was driven by a phenomenal 91 billion audio streams served through Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and other audio streaming services. This represents a 33.5 per cent rise on 2017 and a remarkable 2,350 per cent increase since 2012. In 2019 it is likely the landmark of 100 billion streams in a single year will be shattered, not least with new streaming services having come fully online, such as the licensed YouTube Music, which launched in the UK in June 2018.

Audio streaming now accounts for nearly two thirds (63.6%) of all UK domestic music consumption, and in December7 the market witnessed a new landmark of 2.0 billion audio streams served in a single week. Although Drake’s God’s Plan was the most streamed audio track of the year (Drake also had two other songs in the top-10: Nice For What and In My Feelings), there were six tracks in the year’s top-10 most-streamed that featured British artists, including at No.2 the global smash One Kiss by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa (who also enjoyed individual streaming success with IDGAF at No.9). Reinforcing the success of his No.1 second album Staying At Tamara’s, George Ezra underlined that he has truly arrived as one of Britain’s biggest talents by additionally claiming two of 2018’s most-streamed tracks – Shotgun (No.3) and Paradise (No.8). These Days – the collaboration by Brits Rudimental, Jess Glynne and Dan Caplen with US act Macklemore – also made the top-10, whilst relative newcomer Anne-Marie bubbled just outside of the year’s top-10 most-streamed tracks with Friends (with Marshmello) and 2002 to help cap another strong year for British artists.

Resilient physical formats – 11th consecutive year of vinyl growth; 4.2 million LPs purchased

Demand for vinyl, boosted by Record Store Day and the first National Album Day, continues to grow, though with production now running at close to capacity, the rate of increase is consolidating. Close to 4.2 million LPs were purchased – a rise of 1.6 per cent over 2017 and up by 2,000 per cent since the format’s low point of 205,000 copies sold in 2007. LP sales remain at their highest level since the start of the 90s, with 12,000 albums released on vinyl in 20188. Over 1 in 10 of all physical album purchases are now on vinyl format.

Though still a relatively small share when compared to streaming (63.6%) and CD (22.4%), vinyl occupies a healthy market niche accounting for around 3.0 per cent of music consumed, although its cultural imprint is much greater. The LP, which in 2018 celebrated its 70th anniversary, has established its place within a multi-channel music eco-system in which fans can discover and share music new to them through streaming, while many will purchase recordings on physical format by favoured artists they may wish to gift, own and collect.

Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino was 2018’s most-purchased album on vinyl and was also the fastest-selling LP in over 25 years since charts records began in 1994, shifting 24,500 copies in just seven days upon its May release. The Greatest Showman Cast Recording (also the best-selling CD), Fleetwood Mac Rumours, Queen Greatest Hits and Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon made up the top 5. British acts George Ezra, Oasis, David Bowie and Amy Winehouse also featured in the top-10 vinyl best sellers of 2018.

Demand for CD, though still resilient, slipped by over a fifth. Whilst this is consistent with the long-term trend of recent years, it in part also reflected the steep year-on-year challenge of competing against the exceptional performance of Ed Sheeran’s Divide in 2017. However, collectible super-deluxe and limited-edition box sets are helping to keep the format relatively buoyant, with reissues of classic work by Kate Bush, David Bowie and The Beatles (The White Album celebrated its 50th anniversary) in 2018 enabling physical formats to claim a larger share of retail spend than their unit consumption would suggest.

Along with The Greatest Showman and George Ezra, CD sales were also dominated by the Now compilation series with both Now That’s What I Call Music 100, which in July celebrated the 100th edition of the hugely successful franchise, and Now That’s What I Call Music 99 among the year’s top-5 best-sellers. Whilst growing from a very low base, there were also signs of a continuing mini revival for the cassette, with acts like The 1975 selling over 7,500 copies for their No.1 album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. Nearly 50,000 cassette albums were purchased – up 125.3 per cent on 2017 and the largest volume sold since 2004.

Chart 1 – OFFICIAL ARTIST ALBUMS CHART 2018

Pos. Artist & Title Label/Company/Group
1. Motion Picture Cast Recording ‘The Greatest Showman’ Atlantic/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music
2. George Ezra ‘Staying At Tamara’s’ Columbia/Columbia Label Group/Sony Music
3. Ed Sheeran ‘Divide’ Asylum/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music
4. Motion Picture Cast Recording ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ Polydor/Polydor/Universal Music
5. Drake ‘Scorpion’ Cash Money/Republic Records/Island/Universal Music
6. Post Malone ‘Beerbongs & Bentleys’ Republic Records/Island/Universal Music
7. Motion Picture Cast Recording ‘A Star Is Born’ Interscope/Polydor/Universal Music
8. Michael Bublé ‘Love’ Reprise/Warner Bros/Warner Music
9. Dua Lipa ‘Dua Lipa’ Warner Bros/Warner Bros/Warner Music
10. Eminem ‘Kamikaze’ Interscope/Polydor/Universal Music
11. Take That ‘Odyssey’ Polydor/Sony Music CG/Polydor/Sony Music CG/Sony Music/Universal Music
12. Andrea Bocelli ‘Si’ Decca/Sugar/Decca/Universal Music
13. Queen ‘Bohemian Rhapsody – OST’ Virgin/Virgin EMI/Universal Music
14. Jess Glynne ‘Always In Between’ Atlantic/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music
15. Rod Stewart ‘Blood Red Roses’ Decca/Decca/Universal Music
16. Ariana Grande ‘Sweetener’ Republic Records/Island/Universal Music
17. Paloma Faith ‘The Architect’ RCA/RCA Label Group/Sony Music
18. Arctic Monkeys ‘Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino’ Domino Recordings/Domino Recordings/Domino Recordings
19. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man ‘Human’ Best Laid Plans/Columbia/Columbia Label Group/Sony Music
20. Abba ‘Gold – Greatest Hits’ Polydor/Polydor/Universal Music

Chart 2 – OFFICIAL COMBINED ALBUMS CHART 2018

Pos. Artist & Title Label/Company/Group
1. Motion Picture Cast Recording ‘The Greatest Showman’ Atlantic/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music
2. George Ezra ‘Staying At Tamara’s’ Columbia/Columbia Label Group/Sony Music
3. Ed Sheeran ‘Divide’ Asylum/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music
4. Various Artists ‘Now That’s What I Call Music 100’ Sony Music CG/Virgin EMI/Sony Music CG/Virgin EMI/Sony Music/Universal Music
5. Various Artists ‘Now That’s What I Call Music 99’ Sony Music CG/Virgin EMI/Sony Music CG/Virgin EMI/Sony Music/Universal Music
6. Motion Picture Cast Recording ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ Polydor/Polydor/Universal Music
7. Drake ‘Scorpion’ Cash Money/Republic Records/Island/Universal Music
8. Various Artists ‘Now That’s What I Call Music 101’ Sony Music CG/Virgin EMI/Sony Music CG/Virgin EMI/Sony Music/Universal Music
9. Post Malone ‘Beerbongs & Bentleys’ Republic Records/Island/Universal Music
10. Motion Picture Cast Recording ‘A Star Is Born’ Interscope/Polydor/Universal Music

Chart 3 – OFFICIAL SINGLES CHART 2018

Pos. Artist & Title Label/Company/Group
1. Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa ‘One Kiss’ Columbia/Warner Bros/Columbia/Warner Bros/Sony Music/Warner Music
2. Drake ‘God’s Plan’ Cash Money/Republic Records/Island/Universal Music
3. George Ezra ‘Shotgun’ Columbia/Columbia Label Group/Sony Music
4. Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble ‘This Is Me’ Atlantic/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music
5. Rudimental ft Jess Glynne, Macklemore & Dan Caplen ‘These Days’ Asylum/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music
6. Ed Sheeran ‘Perfect’ Asylum/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music
7. Drake ‘Nice For What’ Cash Money/Republic Records/Island/Universal Music
8. George Ezra ‘Paradise’ Columbia/Columbia Label Group/Sony Music
9. Ariana Grande ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ Republic Records/Island/Universal Music
10. Portugal The Man ‘Feel It Still’ Atlantic/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music

Chart 4 – OFFICIAL CHARTS MOST STREAMED AUDIO TRACKS 2018

Pos. Artist Label/Company/Group
1. Drake ‘God’s Plan’ Cash Money/Republic Records/Island/Universal Music
2. Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa ‘One Kiss’ Columbia/Warner Bros/Columbia/Warner Bros/Sony Music/Warner Music
3. George Ezra ‘Shotgun’ Columbia/Columbia Label Group/Sony Music
4. Rudimental ft Jess Glynne, Macklemore & Dan Caplen ‘These Days’ Asylum/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music
5. Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble ‘This Is Me’ Atlantic/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music
6. Drake ‘Nice For What’ Cash Money/Republic Records/Island/Universal Music
7. Ed Sheeran ‘Perfect’ Asylum/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music
8. George Ezra ‘Paradise’ Columbia/Columbia Label Group/Sony Music
9. Dua Lipa ‘IDGAF’ Warner Bros/Warner Bros/Warner Music
10. Drake ‘In My Feelings’ Cash Money/Republic Records/Island/Universal Music

Chart 5 – OFFICIAL VINYL ARTIST ALBUMS CHART 2018

Pos. Artist & Title Label/Company/Group
1. Arctic Monkeys ‘Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino’ Domino Recordings/Domino Recordings/Domino Recordings
2. Motion Picture Cast Recording ‘The Greatest Showman’ Atlantic/Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music
3. Fleetwood Mac ‘Rumours’ WEA/Warner Bros/Warner Music
4. Queen ‘Greatest Hits’ UMC/UMC/Universal Music
5. Pink Floyd ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ Rhino/Rhino (Warners)/Warner Music
6. George Ezra ‘Staying At Tamara’s’ Columbia/Columbia Label Group/Sony Music
7. Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ Geffen/Polydor/Universal Music
8. Oasis ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’ Big Brother/Big Brother/Sony Music
9. David Bowie ‘Legacy’ Parlophone/Rhino (Warners)/Warner Music
10. Amy Winehouse ‘Back To Black’ Island/Island/Universal Music