The United Kingdom is one of the most important countries all over the world in the music industry and history. Therefore, its capital London plays a central role in this particular field of business by setting trends and bringing out global super stars. In the recent decades, London based artists like Adele, Amy Winehouse, Coldplay and Pink Floyd have been the world’s best-selling recording artists. Let's take a closer look...
Statistics & Significance In The Music Industry
According to the Measuring Music 2016 report by UK Music, the British music industry made an overall contribution of about £4.1 billion to the UK economy, supported 119,000 jobs in over 7,480 businesses in 2015. In that year, £2.2 billion of the total revenue was generated by the export of UK music to all over the world.
Across a year, there are more than 17,000 music performances in London's 300+ venues. The country not only offers the three best-selling arenas globally, the world's most popular music venue O2 in London, the Phones 4U Arena in Manchester and the SSE Hydro in Glasgow but also is the home of the world's oldest surviving music hall. The Wilton's Music Hall was built in 1743 and is still a living piece of London's musical history. Thanks to the big range and success of all these venues, a live music audience of 27.7 million were counted in 2015.
Famous Artists Of London & The UK
After the bunch of numbers, let us have a look at the famous key players of London and the United Kingdom. Here you see ten iconic acts from the British capital:
Most of these listed artists are not with us anymore - rest in peace - or ended their careers in the business. But the significance and the British spirit are not disappearing in the present age - quite the opposite! According to data from the IFPI international organisation, five of the top ten selling global artists in 2015 were British: Adele (rank 1), Ed Sheeran (rank 2), One Direction (rank 5), Coldplay (rank 6) and Sam Smith (rank 8). This IFPI rankings count worldwide album sales including physical and digital formats, track sales and streams. To take a single example, Adele's 25 album sold more than 20 million copies since its release in November 2015, reached 10 times platinum each in the UK and USA and received a Grammy as "album of the year" in 2017.
But we definitively should not forget to look at the broad range of other UK acts next to the ten worldwide top earners which have an impressive showing like Mark Ronson, Calvin Harris, Muse, Mumford & Sons, George Ezra, The Prodigy - just to name few. Each of them experiencing chart success across the globe and underline the business strength that the UK currently enjoys.
In 2015, British performers achieved 17.1% worldwide share by value of album sales, which constantly grows since ages. In this year, UK acts also performed strongly in Australia (28.3% share), Canada (22.1%), USA (17.6%), Sweden (16.7%) and my homeland Germany (16.4%).
Important Music Companies
The massive success of the British musicians logically results in a significant presence of music labels. The three major labels Universal Music, Warner Music and Sony Music are based in London's western district Kensington. They are all located in close vicinity to each other or even in the same street.
Universal Music UK: 364-366 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W14 8NS, United Kingdom
Warner Music UK: 27 Wrights Ln, Kensington, London W8, United Kingdom
Sony Music Entertainment: 9 Derry St, Kensington, London W8 5HY, United Kingdom
The UK is also the origin of the world’s largest independent record company called Beggar’s Group. The group owns or distributes several other labels including XL Recordings (which covers current key artists like Adele, Radiohead and Jack White), 4AD, Rough Trade Records and Matador Records.
Beggar’s Group: 17-19 Alma Rd, London SW18 1AA, United Kingdom
Domino Records, as well founded in London, is mainly known for the band Arctic Monkeys. The American indie Glassnote Records has one of its main offices in the British capital and counts names like Mumford & Sons among their catalogue.
Domino Records: 22 Smugglers Way, London SW18, United Kingdom
Glassnote Records: 7 Old Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1QR, United Kingdom
The worldwide operating American event promoter Live Nation is responsible for the world’s biggest shows and world tours of Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Metallica, The Weekend, U2, Coldplay... you name it! Of course such big player in this business has an office in London ;)
Live Nation UK: 19-25 Argyll St, Soho, London W1F 7TS, United Kingdom
One of the new and rapidly growing business segments of the music industry is the streaming. Needless to say that the actual market leader Spotify with a market share of 43% and the two biggest competitors Apple Music (20.9%) and Deezer (6.9% - numbers from December 2016) are present in the metropolis.
Apple Music (Apple HQ London): 1 Hanover St, Mayfair, London W1S 1YZ, United Kingdom