Lewis Capaldi and The Weeknd among best-selling artists in the UK as streaming and physical music sales soar in 2020

New data published by the BPI has found that recorded music consumption in the UK rose by 8.2% last year

Lewis Capaldi and The Weeknd have been named among the best-selling artists of 2020 in the UK.

New data published by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) today (January 4) sheds light on what the UK listened to and bought in 2020, with the findings also revealing that recorded music consumption in the UK rose by 8.2% last year.

There were 139 billion audio streams in the UK in 2020 (up by over a fifth compared to 2019) as nearly 200 artists had their music streamed over 100 million times. 155 million albums (or their equivalent) were either streamed or purchased by UK music lovers last year, with the coronavirus pandemic not having an adverse effect on the recorded music market.

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The BPI noted that that while the pandemic has had a “devastating effect on the live sector”, demand for record music “initially dipped around the start of the first lockdown, but listening rebounded across streaming and physical formats and grew throughout the year”.

The BPI have also announced that streaming now accounts for four-fifths (80.6%) of the UK’s overall music consumption. Physical formats still enjoyed strong sales in 2020, however, with vinyl sales increasing by over a tenth (11.5%) as almost 4.8 million copies were purchased – a 13th year of consecutive growth for vinyl in the UK – and cassette sales doubling to rack up 156,542 copies, their highest total since 2003.

16 million CDs were also bought in 2020, representing 10.3% of the UK’s recorded music consumption.

Lewis Capaldi
Lewis Capaldi performs at The SSE Arena, Wembley on March 12, 2020 in London (Picture: Burak Cingi/Redferns)

In terms of individual best-sellers, Capaldi’s 2019 debut ‘Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent’ continues to be the record to beat as it was crowned the UK’s best-selling album in 2020, as it was in 2019. Harry Styles‘Fine Line’ was the second best-selling album of 2020 in the UK, with Dua Lipa‘s ‘Future Nostalgia’ rounding off the podium.

Billie Eilish, Stormzy and the late Pop Smoke also feature in the top 10 best-selling albums of 2020 in the UK. You can see the full list below.

Official Albums Chart of 2020

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1. Lewis Capaldi – ‘Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent’

2. Harry Styles – ‘Fine Line’

3. Dua Lipa – ‘Future Nostalgia’

4. Billie Eilish – ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’

5. Stormzy – ‘Heavy Is The Head’

6. Pop Smoke – ‘Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon’

7. Ed Sheeran – ‘No. 6 Collaborations Project’

8. Queen – ‘Greatest Hits’

9. Elton John – ‘Diamonds’

10. Fleetwood Mac – ’50 Years – Don’t Stop’

The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’ has been named as both the UK’s best-selling single and  most-streamed track of 2020, with Tones & I‘s ‘Dance Monkey’ and SAINt JHN‘s ‘Roses’ rounding out the top three in both countdowns. You can see those two respective top 10s below.

Official Singles Chart of 2020

1. The Weeknd – ‘Blinding Lights’

2. Tones & I – ‘Dance Monkey’

3. SAINt JHN – ‘Roses’

4. Lewis Capaldi – ‘Before You Go’

5. Joel Corry ft MNEK – ‘Head & Heart’

6. Dua Lipa – ‘Don’t Start Now’

7. DaBaby ft Roddy Ricch – ‘Rockstar’

8. Lewis Capaldi – ‘Someone You Loved’

9. Stormzy/Ed Sheeran/Burna Boy – ‘Own It’

10. Harry Styles – ‘Watermelon Sugar’

Most-Streamed Audio Tracks of 2020

1. The Weeknd – ‘Blinding Lights’

2. Tones & I – ‘Dance Monkey’

3. SAINt JHN – ‘Roses’

4. DaBaby ft Roddy Ricch – ‘Rockstar’

5. Lewis Capaldi – ‘Before You Go’

6. Dua Lipa – ‘Don’t Start Now’

7. Lewis Capaldi – ‘Someone You Loved’

8. Joel Corry ft MNEK – ‘Head & Heart’

9. Roddy Ricch – ‘The Box’ 

10. Stormzy/Ed Sheeran/Burna Boy – ‘Own It’

The UK’s enduring love for the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Oasis, Nirvana and Amy Winehouse saw classic albums by those artists being among the 10 biggest-selling vinyl LPs of 2020, while Lady Gaga‘s latest album ‘Chromatica’ has been named as the best-selling cassette album of 2020 in the UK.

Official Vinyl Album Chart of 2020

1. Fleetwood Mac – ‘Rumours’

2. Oasis – ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’

3. Amy Winehouse – ‘Back To Black’

4. Nirvana – ‘Nevermind’

5. Harry Styles – ‘Fine Line’

6. Kylie Minogue – ‘Disco’

7. Queen – ‘Greatest Hits’

8. AC/DC – ‘Power Up’

9. Arctic Monkeys – ‘Live At The Royal Albert Hall’

10. IDLES – ‘Ultra Mono’

Official Cassette Albums Chart of 2020

1. Lady Gaga – ‘Chromatica’

2. 5 Seconds Of Summer – ’Calm’

3. Yungblud – ‘Weird’

4. The 1975 – ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’

5. Blackpink – ‘The Album’

6. Selena Gomez – ‘Rare’

7. Kylie Minogue – ‘Disco’

8. Dua Lipa – ‘Future Nostalgia’

9. Haim – ‘Women In Music Pt III’

10. The Streets – ‘None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive’

Last month Capaldi released ‘Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent: Finale’, a deluxe version of his best-selling album.

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