Classical music proved to be the fastest growing genre in 2018, as the number of plays increased by more than 10%.
In comparison, there was a rise of only 5.7% in music consumption last year across all genres, according to data collected by the Official Charts Company for BPI, the UK’s record labels association.
More than 2.2m classical albums were purchased, downloaded, or streamed, with nearly 60% bought in CD format, despite the market’s trend towards streaming.
Meanwhile, streams of classical music increased by 42% in 2018, compared to a 33% rise for the UK music market as a whole. Just over a quarter of classical music being consumed is now streamed.
According to BPI, the data also showed that seven of the top-30 best-selling classical albums of last year were film soundtracks, while music by Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi accounted for one in 12 UK classical streams. Also highly streamed were Katherine Jenkins, Andrea Bocelli and Yo-Yo Ma.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI and the Brit Awards and co-chair of BPI’s Classical Committee, said: “This is a dynamic moment in the history of classical music, with brilliant new artists such as Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Alexis Ffrench and Jess Gillam bursting through to accompany revered icons such as Andrea Bocelli, Yo-Yo Ma and Bryn Terfel.”
“The popularity of soundtracks and new works by composers such as Ludovico Einaudi and Max Richter are broadening the appeal of classical among younger listeners on streaming services.”
“We welcome the Government’s proposals to review music education. Funding and promoting much stronger music education in all schools would deliver benefits across society going well beyond classical music.”
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