Music streaming hit £1bn in the UK in 2019 amid huge declines in physical sales

Music subscription spend in the UK hit £1 billion for the first time ever in 2019 marking a whopping 31-fold increase from 2010.

Entertainment spend in the UK, which is spread across music, video and gaming, rose 2.4 per cent to £7.8 billion this year according to the latest figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

This marked the seventh consecutive year of growth in the sector which has been almost entirely driven by the dramatic rise in streaming services as physical sales across all three categories continued to drop.

According to the ERA’s chief executive Kim Bailey 80 per cent of all entertainment spend is now digital, while spending on physical formats has dropped an average of 20 per cent across all categories.

“The rise of digital entertainment services has created the biggest revolution in UK leisure habits in history, enabling people to access the music, video and games they love wherever and whenever they want, and transforming the fortunes of record labels, filmmakers and games developers.”

READ MORE: UK entertainment retail spend hits £100m a week

Video enjoyed the strongest growth throughout the year, rising 9.5 per cent again thanks to the astronomical rise of digital streaming services.

Digital video revenues grew 21.5 per cent to £2.11 billion during the year, while physical revenues decreased by 22.7 per cent to just £500 million, the equivalent of a £147 million decline.

“Video’s digital renaissance is remarkable, but it is undeniable that physical formats are the key to scoring a blockbuster hit,” Bailey said.

“Every one of the year’s Top 10 biggest hits sold more on DVD and Blu-ray than they did digitally.”

Despite remaining the largest category by some margin, gaming saw sales shrink by 3.4 per cent to £3.77 billion marking its first year of decline since 2012.

This decline is thought to be due to a slowdown in console sales as current generation models come to the end of their relevance, which both Sony and Microsoft due to release next-gen consoles this year.

Expenditure on physical games software declined 21.7% in 2019 to £602.5m, while spend on online and mobile gaming increased 1.1% to £3.17bn.

“Since 2010, the combined music, video and games markets have grown by a third thanks primarily to the innovation and investment of digital services and retailers. The stand-out performer, however, is clearly games – up an incredible 76.2% over the past 10 years.”

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