UK record label investments into artists doubles in five years

New figures show that investment in artists by UK record labels has doubled in the last five years. Per data released by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), UK labels put nearly £500 million into artist development in 2021, doubling what they spent back in 2016. 

The investment from labels last year included £358.1million on A&R as well as £136.7 million in marketing and promotion, which represents 39.2% of the total UK label revenue.

The A&R spend, which includes things such as new recordings, video costs, tour support, and artist advances, was 106.6% more in 2021 than that in 2016, which was a total of £173.3million. Over the five-year period between 2016 and 2021, UK labels saw their total income increase by 42.9%, which has been accounted for by a 51.3% surge in streaming revenue.

Per the data from the BPI, the most recent investment has been key to developing the international careers of some of the most esteemed British acts such as Wolf Alice, Sam Fender, Arlo Parks, Glass Animals, Dua Lip, Lewis Capaldi, and many more.

Other recent BPI research has also highlighted that the pool of talent is coming from across the UK, with almost two-thirds of the last year’s most successful UK albums recorded by artists from outside of London.

Over 120 UK artists whose debut albums have been released since 2015 have respectively amassed more than 100 million global audio streams, according to BPI analysis of data provided by Luminate. Together this represents nearly a third of all artists from the UK who attained this level of streaming success in 2021.

Geoff Taylor, the Chief Executive of BPI, Brit Awards, and Mercury Prize, explained in a press release: “The UK has been one of the world’s music superpowers since the advent of pop culture, thanks to the combination of our many incredible artists drawn from all regions and nations, and the passion, financial backing and expertise of our record labels.”

He concluded: “During a time when music has returned to growth after years of decline, labels have continued to prioritise investment in artists.”

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