UK record labels spent $41m on A&R every month in 2021

British superstar artist Dua Lipa

MBW’s Stat Of The Week is a series in which we highlight a single data point that deserves the attention of the global music industry. Stat Of the Week is supported by Cinq Music Group, a technology-driven record label, distribution, and rights management company.

UK record labels spent a combined £494.8 million ($680m) on A&R, marketing and promotion in 2021.

That’s according to figures released this month by the BPI, the trade body representing major and independent labels in the UK.

The BPI breaks that figure down further into A&R spend, and then investment in marketing and promotion, which covers areas such as advertising, digital marketing, publicity, and radio and playlist promotion.

Last year, reports the BPI, £136.7 million ($188m) was spent on marketing and promotion, while a record £358.1 million ($492.5m) was spent specifically on A&R.

BPI says that this A&R spend, which includes artist advances, creating new recordings, video costs and tour support, was 106.6% more in 2021 than the £173.3 million ($225m) spent in 2016.

That $492.5 million (£358.1m) spent on A&R in 2021 works out as $41 million per month, or $10.25 million per week.

For those who enjoy even more granular stats, that’s $1.46 million every single day.

The BPI said that this investment “has been instrumental in developing the international careers” of British stars.

Such artists, says BPI, include Arlo Parks, Dua Lipa, George Ezra, Glass Animals, Griff, Joel Corry, Joy Crookes, Lewis Capaldi, Mabel, PinkPantheress, Rag’n’Bone Man, Sam Fender, Tom Grennan and Wolf Alice.

The trade body also noted in its press release that, “A&R, however, is a highly risky and speculative business and only a minority of artists signed to labels become commercially successful”.

Separately, last month, the BPI reported that the value of British recorded music exports grew by 13.7% to a new annual high of £590.8 million ($812.6m) in 2021.

“During a time when music has returned to growth after years of decline, labels have continued to prioritise investment in artists.”

Geoff Taylor, BPI

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, said: “The UK has been one of the world’s music superpowers since the advent of pop culture, thanks to the combination of our many incredible artists drawn from all regions and nations, and the passion, financial backing and expertise of our record labels.

“During a time when music has returned to growth after years of decline, labels have continued to prioritise investment in artists. Spending on A&R reached a record £358 million last year and is significantly outpacing revenue increases.

“It is fuelling success for a new generation of UK artists who are embracing the opportunities of this truly connected world, underpinning our leading position on the global music stage.”

[GBP-USD conversions in this story have been carried out using average annual rates from the IRS.]

Cinq Music Group’s repertoire has won Grammy awards, dozens of Gold and Platinum RIAA certifications, and numerous No.1 chart positions on a variety of Billboard charts. Its repertoire includes heavyweights such as Bad Bunny, Janet Jackson, Daddy Yankee, T.I., Sean Kingston, Anuel, and hundreds more.

 Music Business Worldwide

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