HomeInsightsBPI publishes figures showing value of British recorded music exports grew by 13.7% in 2021


According to the figures, music exports reached a new annual high of £590.8 million in 2021.

This new peak was driven by a record number of UK artists last year each achieving 100 million-plus global streams. These included not only superstars such as Adele, Dua Lipa, Dave and Ed Sheeran, but many emerging and breakthrough artists, including Glass Animals, PinkPantheress and Rex Orange County.

Physical and digital download sales, streams and other consumption of British music increased in every region globally, including in Europe (up 17.6%), North America (up 11.0%) and Asia (up 11.1%). Ten of the UK’s 20 biggest music export markets experienced double-digit percentage growth on the previous year, led by China with a 61.2% year-on-year increase.

While there were significant rises for territories where UK music has traditionally thrived, including the US (up 10.4%), Germany (up 31.3%), France (up 20.1%) and Canada (up 18.0%), the increasing importance of Latin America to UK music exports was highlighted by a rise of 12.7% overall. This included a 19.2% year-on-year increase in Mexico.

The BPI says that this positive news comes at a time when recent industry forecasts have predicted worldwide recorded music trade revenues could as much as double by 2030 from their 2021 level of US$25.9 billion. If the UK is able to match global streaming growth, British music exports would rise to £1 billion or more by the end of the decade. However, the BPI believes this will require a supportive policy environment that ensures the UK maximises its export potential at a time of intensifying global competition.

Despite the welcomed increase in export revenues, the BPI notes that the UK’s share of the global market is under pressure from established markets that are consolidating their share of the world market, such as the US and Europe, and from fast-growing domestic music markets that are achieving greater international success such as Latin America and South Korea.

The UK’s double-digit annual growth in exports last year has been led by independent and major record labels driving the success of diverse British music talent across global streaming platforms. Last year, nearly 400 UK artists achieved over 100 million audio streams worldwide, according to BPI analysis of streaming data from Luminate (formerly MRC Data). This compares with around 300 artists at this level in 2020. More than 600 UK artists achieved at least 50 million audio streams, while over 1,500 surpassed 10 million audio streams. To read BPI’s press release in full, click here.