Much has been made of the existential threat to the music industry over the years, but that trend doesn’t seem to be applying to the British music scene, with record labels in the UK currently seeing the fastest rates of income growth since the height of Britpop in the 1990s.

New figures published by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in its annual yearbook on Wednesday (March 11th) showed that trade income increased by 10.6% in 2017 to a total of £839.4 million.

The British industry hasn’t seen anything like this level of growth since the explosion in indie and rock back in the mid-Nineties, when the likes of Blur and Oasis ruled the charts. Indeed, the figures are only just below the 10.7% levels of growth seen 22 years before in 1995.

Ed SheeranEd Sheeran had the biggest selling album of 2017

The BPI is attributing the levels of growth to the huge 45% jump in streaming service subscriptions in the last year, as well as the ongoing revival in the sales of vinyl which is continuing unabated.

Furthermore, the ongoing popularity of British artists such as Ed Sheeran, Little Mix and Sam Smith in 2017, combined with breakthrough stars like Stormzy, Dua Lipa and Rag'n'Bone Man, boosted the industry’s sales revenues.

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However, leading industry figures said that the stats could have been even higher if the value-gap was closed, referring to the shortfall in revenues caused by user-upload platforms that can pay lower royalties to artists than competing digital services.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, reacted to the latest figures with a note of caution. “While these are reasons for optimism, music still has a long way to go to recover fully and achieve long-term sustainable growth,” he said.

“In particular, government action is needed to remedy the continuing value gap, so that all digital platforms pay fairly for their use of music, and with the transition period following Brexit now agreed, it is vital that British musicians can tour freely in the EU once we leave.”

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