UK artists are, on average, seeing four Spotify streams abroad for every one at home

Spotify is helping drive new levels of export success for British artists, according to the company’s Director of Economics, Will Page.

Speaking to MBW on a panel at the BBC Introducing Live event in London last month (Friday, November 9), Page presented findings which showed how British acts are excelling overseas. (The research cited was created by Page in tandem with data scientist David Erlandsson.)

Page’s presentation, ‘Decoded’ was held on AWAL’s lounge at the BBC event, in front of a crowd of independent artists and industry insiders.

The exec began by pointing out that British artists are now dominating the top spot on the Spotify UK chart. As of November 9, he said, British acts had held the No.1 position on the chart for 52% of the year (slide below).

That figure compared favourably to the 42% proportion of UK chart-toppers seen across the whole of 2017 – an especially impressive stat considering that last year saw the record-breaking release of Ed Sheeran’s Divide.



Page then turned his attention to overseas, aggregating all the streams in the prior month by UK artists at home and comparing that to what they achieved overseas.

This, he announced, produced a ratio of 4:1 – ie. for every one stream at home, UK acts attracted four overseas.

Page said this trend also translated into a “positive trade balance”; for every stream of an overseas act in the UK in the period, he said, Spotify saw two streams of UK acts overseas.

On this basis, the UK, Sweden and, unsurprisingly, the USA remain the only three net exporters of music in the world.

And in news that was clearly relevant for the AWAL audience, Page stressed that the 4:1 ratio was “for the many, not the few” – with 80% of UK artists now seeing the majority of their streams coming from abroad.



Page then analysed the streaming trajectory of various UK independent artists on Spotify, including British artist Rex Orange County, who works with AWAL and is managed by September.

On Spotify, said Page, Rex OC’s streaming volumes have exploded, as shown by the red line in the chart below, now passing 50m a month.

Yet behind that red line, said Page, lies the geographic breakdown of where those streams are coming from.



The artist’s journey on Spotify began only two years ago, explained Page; the circles capture when and how, with the UK being first to pick up on the artist, followed by the US where streaming volumes quickly grew, and then Asia – which is now picking up the running. (Jakarta is currently Rex OC’s second top city for Spotify.)

Appreciating the UK’s ability to export music was at the core of Page’s message, but he encouraged the audience to learn and look for relevant signals. Strategies around cities as opposed to the traditional conversation around countries or regions was a strong example, said Page – with Spotify releasing city-level data through its Spotify for Artists dashboard.

“The BBC has been one of the reasons why the UK excels at exporting music, so it was important for Spotify to come to Introducing Live and show how that changes in an age of streaming,” page told MBW.

“Consumers have become broadcasters, and playlists are without borders which means artists like Rex are now seeing over 80% of his demand coming from overseas. That might have been the exception in the past – now it’s increasingly the rule.”


[Pictured: Will Page presenting at BBC Introducing Live in November. Credit: Beth Crockatt]Music Business Worldwide

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