Entertainment & Arts

Streaming and vinyl kept the music industry buoyant in 2015

Ed Sheeran
Image caption Ed Sheeran was the year's most-streamed artist, and the fourth biggest-seller on vinyl

A huge rise in streaming, combined with the continued resurgence of vinyl, helped keep the British music industry buoyant in 2015.

A total of 26.8 billion songs were streamed last year, a rise of 82%, according to trade body BPI.

Vinyl sales jumped 64% to 2.1 million, while retailer HMV says it sold a turntable every minute over Christmas.

Overall, the retail value of UK music rose from £1.03bn in 2014 to £1.06bn, the first increase since 2004.

That figure includes the retail value of physical albums - CD, vinyl, cassette and minidisc - alongside digital downloads and an estimate of revenues from streaming subscriptions.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Adele's 25 sold more than 2 million copies, but was not made available on streaming services

"Yet again it's UK artists who are driving this growth and inspiring the fans," said BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor, "whether it's global icons such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and One Direction, or recent British breakthroughs and newcomers like Jess Glynne, Little Mix and James Bay."

Best sellers

Adele's 25 topped the year-end charts, selling more than 2 million copies in just five weeks. By comparison, her previous album 21 took 13 weeks to reach the same milestone.

The rest of the top 10 presented a mixture of old and new releases, with Ed Sheeran's x (971,000 sales) and Sam Smith's In The Lonely Hour (893,000 sales) taking third and fourth position. Both albums, which were released in 2014, have now achieved lifetime sales of more than 2 million.

If I Can Dream, an orchestral reworking of Elvis Presley's biggest hits, was the year's fourth biggest-seller, followed by resurgent teen star Justin Bieber, whose fifth studio album Purpose sold 645,000 copies.

Biggest selling artist albums of 2015
Artist Title
1) Adele 25
2) Ed Sheeran x
3) Sam Smith In The Lonely Hour
4) Elvis Presley If I Can Dream
5) Justin Bieber Purpose
6) Taylor Swift 1989
7) Jess Glynne I Cry When I Laugh
8) James Bay Chaos and the Calm
9) Coldplay A Head Full of Dreams
10) George Ezra Wanted on Voyage

For the first time in four years, pop group One Direction failed to make the top 10. Their fifth album, Made In The AM, was at 14; outsold by girl band Little Mix, whose Get Weird has become the best-selling of their career, shifting 389,000 copies.

The most-streamed track of the year was OMI's ebullient summer anthem Cheerleader, while Ed Sheeran was the most-streamed artist overall.

Adele topped the vinyl charts, where the best-sellers tend to include classic albums such as Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and The Stone Roses' eponymous debut.

CDs are proving to be more resilient than analysts had thought. They remain the dominant format, with 53.6 million discs sold last year, down 3.9% from 2014.

Recent research from the BPI has suggested that people who subscribe to streaming services are beginning to buy CDs and vinyl as permanent mementoes of their favourite tracks.

The video industry has also proved resilient, with a 30% increase in digital video services and 119.6 million DVD and Blu-Ray discs sold last year.

Family movie Paddington was the year's biggest-seller, while Game of Thrones dominated the box set charts.

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