Media release: Britons’ love of music is being fed by streaming and physical formats


UK record labels association, the BPI, can report that the UK’s love of music is being deepened by the growth in streaming – combined with continuing access to music on physical format.

Data from IFPI’s 2019 ‘Music Listening Report’ underlines the fact that, compared with most other countries around the world, we are a nation of music lovers, with 57 per cent of respondents (from the UK) saying they love or are ‘fanatical’ about music.

This compares with a global average of 54 per cent, with the UK ranked fourth overall in the world on this key question.

The love of music is especially strong among British 16-24 year-olds, with well over two-thirds (70 per cent) among the UK respondents saying they love music or are ‘fanatical’ about it (vs 63 per cent global average).

Engagement with audio streaming services is growing across every age group, but is fastest among 25-34 year-olds, although strong growth is also evident among older age groups too.

By age group, 16-24 year-olds are the most engaged (though growth is not as strong).

Geoff Taylor, chief executive, BPI and BRIT Awards, said: “The way we make and discover music may be going through a radical shift, but the passion we Brits have for the music we love never changes.

“There are now more ways to access and enjoy the songs and albums we love – whether on radio, our smart phones and speakers and, of course, on turntables and CD players. And with all this choice, we are giving more people across all ages the opportunity to engage with the music they love the way they want to.”

Streaming is helping to drive our overall engagement with music

Around 60 per cent of respondents in the UK have used an audio streaming service in the past month according to the IFPI data, up strongly from just over half (52 per cent) in 2018.

Younger consumers in the UK (aged 16-24) are particularly engaged, with 88 per cent (up from 84 per cent in 2018) having used an audio streaming service compared with 83 per cent in the rest of the world.

Growth is fastest among the 25-34 year-olds (from 65 per cent to 75 per cent), although there is good growth among all older streaming groups also. Growth is actually slowest among the 16-24 year-olds.

These streaming services are part of young peoples’ daily routines: 69 per cent of 16-24 year-olds used one in the past day (compared to a global average of 63 per cent)

But physical music purchasing remains strong among Brits also

Despite the convenience of streaming, UK consumers still like to buy and own some of their music, with streaming and physical enjoying a complementary relationship. The UK ranks higher than the global average for every age group (in the IFPI survey) in terms of CD and LP purchasing. According to the IFPI data, nearly a third (30 per cent) of British consumers buy music on an at least a monthly basis (compared to a 26 per cent global average).

Music fans in the UK listen to 17 hours of music a week, with nearly a third of this on radio

How we access and listen to music is also telling, with radio listening still prevalent as a means of access.

Four in ten of us (41 per cent) engage with radio via our smartphones according to the IFPI data. Almost a third (32 per cent) of Britons’ music listening takes place on radio (higher than the global average of 29 per cent).

Smartphones and speakers are growing their share of listening

Smartphones claim the second biggest share of consumer listening at nearly a quarter (23 per cent), although this is lower than the global average (27 per cent) boosted by high smart-phone engagement in countries such as China, India and in Latin America.

The increasing popularity in the UK of smart speakers such as Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ and Google ‘Home’ player means that as a nation we are also over-indexing on smart speaker usage – with six per cent of our listening now taking place via this medium – double the three per cent global average.

In fact, 30 per cent of UK music consumers claim to have used a smart speaker to listen to music in the past three months according to the IFPI survey – compared to just a fifth (20 per cent) of global respondents. This high level of engagement means that the UK ranks just behind the US in its access to music via smart speakers.

We also still love our Hi-Fis and turntables

Nearly a tenth (nine per cent) of our music listening takes place on our Hi-Fis and record turntables, however. This compares with eight per cent across countries surveyed by the IFPI, and reflects our enduring love of physical formats i.e. vinyl LPs and CD.

We love our pop, rock and indie, but grime is catching

Pop remains the UK’s favourite music genre, with nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of British consumers in the IFPI survey saying that they listen to it (compared to just 60 per cent among global respondents). Rock weighs in at 54.4 per cent among the Brits surveyed (vs 52 per cent globally), while well over a third of us (34 per cent) love our indie/alternative in the UK – double the global average of 18 per cent and the highest proportion of the 20-plus countries surveyed by the IFPI.

Also flying the flag for Britain is grime/garage, with over a tenth (11 per cent) of UK respondents in the survey saying they had listened to it, compared to just three per cent globally – underlining how grime is a particularly British cultural phenomenon.

In fact, the UK over-indexed on many of the genres: soul/blues was only bigger in South Africa and New Zealand; we are joint top with Australia on punk; and, fascinatingly, only South Africa is bigger than the UK when it comes to Afrobeats.



Gennaro Castaldo +44 (0)20 7803 1326 / +44 (0)7801 194 139

Darren Kruse +44 (0)20 7803 1300

IFPI +44 (0)20 7878 7979

Notes for editors:

IFPI ‘Music Listening Report’

IFPI conducted global research in April-May 2019 which explored the way consumers engage with and access music across licensed and unlicensed services.

Fieldwork questioned a demographically representative sample of the online population aged 16-64 in the following territories: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. The study was also conducted in China and India but results from these two countries are not included in ‘global; figures. These twenty-one territories accounted for 92.6 per cent of global recorded music market revenues in 2018, according to IFPI’s Global Music Report 2019.

In total, 34,000 internet users were surveyed with higher numbers of respondents in larger markets. Nationally representative quota samples of between 1,000-3,000 respondents were set in accordance with online population size and demographic structure, as determined by the latest respective census data in each territory. This ensured that a standard error of +/- three per cent was achieved throughout the data, at a 95 per cent confidence level. Study design, construction, and analysis was conducted by IFPI with fieldwork organised by AudienceNet.

About the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) –

The BPI champions the UK’s recorded music industry, safeguarding the rights of its members and of the artists, performers and label members of collecting body PPL. The BPI’s membership consists of well over 400 independent labels and the UK’s three ‘majors’, which together account for 85 per cent of legitimate domestic music consumption and one in eight albums sold around the world.

The BPI promotes British music overseas through its trade missions and the Music Exports Growth Scheme. It provides insights, training and networking with its free masterclasses, Innovation Hub, Insight Sessions, WidsomWednesdays events, and reports. The BPI administers The BRIT Certified Awards, co-owns The Official Charts, organises The BRIT Awards and BRITs Week, and is also home to The Mercury Prize.

About the IFPI –

IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises some 1,300 major and independent companies in almost 60 countries. It also has affiliated industry national groups in 57 countries. IFPI’s mission is to promote the value of recorded music, campaign for the rights of record producers and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all markets where its members operate.

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