New analysis from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) shows that independently released (indie) music is thriving and enjoyed its fourth consecutive year of growth in 2021. The collective share of music consumption in the United Kingdom attributable to independent labels rose to 26.9% in 2021. This was up from 25.9% in 2020 and is markedly higher than the 22.1% figure registered in 2017.

The indie label share of artist album sales has grown by more than one-tenth in just two years, increasing across every format, from 30.4% in 2019 to 34.2% in 2021. Their share of the UK vinyl market has risen even more sharply and in 2021 they accounted for four in every 10 (39.5%) vinyl LP purchases, up from 33.9% in 2019.

The BPI insights are based on Official Charts Company data and are taken from All About the Music 2022, the 43rd edition of the BPI Yearbook. This industry annual reports on and analyses trends in 2021 UK music consumption.

The strong performance reflects a particularly successful year for indie artists, with 60 independent albums charting in the Official Albums Chart Top 10 (compared with 52 in 2020), including No. 1 albums from artists such as Wolf Alice, Mogwai, KSI and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, while new artists including Central Cee, KSI and AJ Tracey each racked up hundreds of millions of streams in the United Kingdom alone. The enduring appeal of independently released albums that have gone on to become classics sees them now finding fresh audiences thanks to streaming and sales of vinyl. Arctic Monkeys' 2013 release AM was the biggest-selling indie album of 2021, while Adele's 21 and 25 also powered the success of the sector.

The BPI says that this positive trend is continuing strongly into 2022, with the indie share of the UK market overall now up to 28.9% year to date, boosted by No. 1 albums from The Wombats, Don Broco, Stereophonics and rapper Central Cee.

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