Lewis Capaldi has been named as the UK’s best-selling artist of 2019, as music consumption grew for the fifth year in a row. The Scottish star had both the top album and single of the year, with his ballad ‘Someone You Loved’ racking up 228 million streams.
Capaldi’s acclaimed debut album, Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent was the UK’s best-selling album, holding off Ed Sheeran’s No. 6 Collaborations Project. Also making the Top 10, Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was at No. 4, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody OST was at No. 6, Arian Grande’s Thank U, Next, was at No. 7 and the official soundtrack album for A Star Is Born came in at No. 9.
After Lewis Capaldi’s ‘Someone You Loved’, the year’s best-selling hit singles included Lil Nas X’s country-rap crossover ‘Old Town Road’ (No.2), Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’ (No.4), Ava Max’s pop smash ‘Sweet But Psycho’ (No.6) and Mabel’s ‘Don’t Call Me Up’ at No.9.
According to reports in the BBC, the industry is now dominated by streaming – with fans cueing up 114 billion songs last year, a new record. At the same, however, vinyl sales also rose again. Liam Gallagher’s Why Me? Why Not was names the most popular LP, selling 29,000 physical copies.
The explosion in popularity of on-demand music has turned the fortunes of the industry around, with album sales up 13% since 2010.
The BBC also reported that vinyl sales rose by 4.1%, with the format now accounting for one in every eight albums bought in the UK. Big-sellers included Billie Eilish’s debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? and perennial classics like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Queen’s Greatest Hits.
Cassettes also proved surprisingly popular, with more than 80,000 tapes sold in 2019 – the highest figure since 2004. The tally was boosted by Robbie Williams’ number one album A Christmas Present, which sold more than 10,000 cassette copies in a single week in December.
The popularity of cassettes and vinyl “shows fans still love a physical, tangible music artefact in their hands”, said Vanessa Higgins, chief executive of music label Regent Street Records.
Overall, 154 million albums were either streamed, bought or downloaded – the largest amount since 2006, when the figure stood at 161.4 million.
Geoff Taylor, head of the BPI, said the latest figures proved British music had a “bright future”.
“Strong demand for streaming music and vinyl, fuelled by the investment and innovation of UK labels in discovering and promoting new talent, boosted music consumption to levels not seen for 15 years,” he said.