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UK acts score record share of North American albums market

By | Published on Monday 9 May 2016


The UK was the featured country at last week’s Canadian Music Week, and to celebrate that fact CMU Insights presented a three-hour conference strand on Friday afternoon featuring twelve members of the British delegation. This included an overview of the UK market, in which BPI boss Geoff Taylor revealed that last year British artists achieved their highest ever recorded share of album sales in North America.

The trade body says that, according to its number crunchers, 17.6% of artist albums bought in the US last year were from British artists, a leap from the 12.2% share British acts secured in the world’s biggest recorded music market in 2014. Indeed, it’s the highest share since the BPI started tracking such things in 2003, and the organisation’s research team reckon it likely exceeds even the dominance of UK music Stateside during the British invasion of the 1960s.

In Canada the stat is even higher, with UK artists securing a 22% share of the album market. Four of the top ten albums of 2015 in Canada came from British acts, with Mark Ronson also scoring the most streamed track of the year. But it was Adele, of course, who really led the way in assuring UK music’s success in both the US and Canadian markets, though Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and others also helped with their top British tuneage.

Speaking at Canadian Music Week, Taylor said: “The drumbeat of British music success in North America just keeps getting louder. British acts such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Mark Ronson have become part of the music mainstream in both the US and Canada – as popular as any home-grown talent, and their sustained success has opened the door to a new generation of UK artists coming through”.

Meanwhile, back in London, the government’s culture man John Whittingdale added: “Britain is a hive of creative talent so it’s no surprise that our UK artists are continuing to make a huge impact on the North American music market. Not only are the likes of Adele and Sam Smith inspiring whole new generations with their success overseas, but they’re flying the flag for Britain by showcasing our creativity and contributing more than £2 billion to our economy through exports”.

The BPI figures appeared as part of the CMU Guide To The UK Market, which provided a beginners guide to the British music industry for CMW’s international delegation. You can download the slides from the session here, plus look out for reports on that and other CMU Insights @ Canadian Music Week sessions in the CMU Daily later this week.