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Music & Sound Gear Surge In 2020, So What Were The Top Ten Albums

Music and the demand for sound gear is booming during COVID-19 lock downs with researchers reporting an 8.2% increase in demand for music including vinyl which has resulted in demand for turntables soaring.

More than 155m albums were bought or streamed in 2020 in the UK alone another 300M in the USA.

In the first half of 2020, U.S. recorded music revenues grew 5.6% to $5.7 billion at retail value, continuing the positive growth trends of recent years.

Streaming music grew to 85% of the market by value, compared with 80% the prior year.

At wholesale value, revenues grew 5.1% to $3.7 billion.

In Australia streaming is up by over 10% while retailers such as JB Hi Fi are reporting record demand for sound gear with JBL sales tipped to be over $100M this year a result that is believed to have triggered a decision by Klipsch to set up their own subsidiary in Australia in an effort to get a larger share of the market.

Australia’s total music market came in at A$2.5 Billion in 2019. As consumers continue to embrace a variety of music-streaming brands, that figure is expected to rise to A$2.319b in 2024, increasing at a rate of 4.99 percent CAGR, based on the mid-point forecast scenario.

British artists Lewis Capaldi, Harry Styles and Dua Lipa were the three biggest sellers of the year.

Three of the top 10 best-sellers were Greatest Hits collections from artists whose career peak came in the 1970s – Queen, Elton John, and Fleetwood Mac.

The number of singles receiving a platinum disc (representing 600,000 sales) also fell – with 16 songs, including Lady Gaga’s Rain On Me and Drake’s Toosie Slide, reaching the milestone.

In 2019 the equivalent figure was 27, and in 2018 it was 33.

The figures suggest that listeners are seeking out a more diverse range of music on streaming services, which now account for 80.6% of music consumption in the UK.

The big streaming services are Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music last year, up by more than a fifth (22%).

Analysts claim that the surge in demand for music helped the music industry recover from the piracy crisis of 10 years ago, but there is increasing disquiet amongst artists about how the money from streaming services is distributed.

Outside of streaming, vinyl continued to grow in popularity, with sales hitting 4.8 million in the UK – up from 4.3 million in 2019 – marking the format’s best year since 1990, when Sinead O’Connor and New Kids on the Block topped the charts.

Sales of cassettes almost doubled – with 156,542 tapes sold, the highest total since 2003.

However, the raw figure masks the fact that cassettes are often bundled with signed merchandise or sold in sets of three (or more) on artists’ official stores.

CD sales continued to fall. Just 16m discs were sold last year, half of the 2018 figure. At their peak in 2004, 163.4m CDs were sold in the UK, led by the Scissor Sisters’ debut album and Keane’s Hopes and Fears.

Despite the decline, most of the number one album in 2020 sold the majority of their copies in physical formats.