End-of-year sales figures show ‘very bright’ future for British music according to BPI

Eight of the top 10 albums in the UK end-of-year chart were by British artists

The chief executive of the BPI has declared the future of British music is “very bright” following the release of end-of-year figures for 2017.

The BPI (British Phonographic Industry) has released statistics from the last 12 months, revealing the acts with the highest sales figures, as well as patterns in music consumption from the streaming and record-buying public.

Ed Sheeran topped every chart from the year, including the best-selling album with ‘÷‘, the most streamed artists chart, and the best-selling singles chart with ‘Shape Of You’. He appeared three more times in the top 10 of the latter with ‘Castle On The Hill’, ‘Galway Girl’, and ‘Perfect’ at three, five, and six respectively.


Eight of the top 10 in the best-selling albums chart were British acts, including Rag’n’Bone Man (two), Sam Smith (three), Little Mix (four), Liam Gallagher (nine), and Stormzy (10). Stormzy and Little Mix also featured in the top 10 of the most streamed artists of the year.

The full top 20 of best-selling artist albums in the UK is as follows:

  1. Ed Sheeran – ‘÷’
  2. Rag’n’Bone Man – ‘Human’
  3. Sam Smith – ‘The Thrill Of It All’
  4. Little Mix – ‘Glory Days’
  5. Pink – ‘Beautiful Trauma’
  6. Ed Sheeran – ‘x’
  7. Michael Ball & Alfie Boe – ‘Together Again’
  8. Drake – ‘More Life’
  9. Liam Gallagher – ‘As You Were’
  10. Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer’
  11. Roy Orbison/RPO – ‘A Love So Beautiful’
  12. Motion Picture Cast Recording – ‘Moana’
  13. Take That – ‘Wonderland’
  14. Paloma Faith – ‘The Architect’
  15. Taylor Swift – ‘Reputation’
  16. Ed Sheeran – ‘+’
  17. George Michael – ‘Listen Without Prejudice – Vol 1’
  18. Adele – ’25’
  19. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – ‘Who Built The Moon?’
  20. Eminem – ‘Revival’

In a statement, Geoff Taylor – Chief Executive for the BPI and BRIT Awards – said: “Demand for music in the UK is growing fast, driven by brilliant British artists such as Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Rag‘n’Bone Man, Little Mix, Stormzy and Dua Lipa and the innovative music industry that supports them. 

“Whilst the rapid growth of streaming and resilient demand for physical formats gives us confidence for the future, it is important to remember that the music industry still has a long way to go to recover fully. Structural challenges must be overcome if long-term growth is to be sustained. First we must continue to fight the ‘Value Gap’, so that all digital platforms pay fairly for their use of music.”

He continued: “Second, Government must ensure our musicians are able to tour freely even after we leave the EU. Finally, we should make the UK the best place to invest in new content by forging an online environment that is safe for consumers and where illegal sites cannot flourish.  If we do this, the future for British music, which is already one of our leading exports, will be very bright.”


Meanwhile, the BPI also found that vinyl sales had continued to grow in the last 12 months, with one in every 10 of all physical music purchases being made on vinyl. A total of 4.1 million LPs were purchased in 2017, which marks a rise of 26.8 percent over the last year.

Vinyl album sales are now at their highest level since 1991, while 10 years ago only 205,000 vinyl records were sold. Sheeran’s ‘÷’ was the best-selling vinyl album of 2017, followed by Liam Gallagher’s ‘As You Were’.