Independent record labels’ share of the UK recorded music market is set to increase for a fifth consecutive year in 2022, according to new data from the BPI, the representative voice for independent and major record labels across the UK.
In the first ten months of the year, independent release made up 28.6% of the UK music market, up from 26.9% for the whole of 2021 and 30% up on 2017, when independents claimed a 22.1% share. Independent labels such as Dirty Hit, Partisan and PIAS, as well as companies such as Domino and XL Beggars, have all contributed significantly to the sector’s success.
While indie label market share has grown year-on-year in 2022 across sales and streams, the sector has performed particularly well in the albums market, where independents accounted for four in every 10 (40.5%) sales during October, including on vinyl LP and CD formats. This compares to a 32.2% share over the same month in 2021 and was led by Arctic Monkeys’ seventh studio album The Car, which accumulated one of the highest weekly vinyl LP sales of the century following its release on October 21, according to Official Charts Company data.
The album notched up over 100,000 sales in its first two weeks of release, excluding streaming. The Car is joined among the year’s top-selling albums by fellow Domino Recordings band Wet Leg, whose self-titled debut album has sold more than 55,000 copies on CD, vinyl and cassette in the UK in the year to date. Including streams, it is the biggest debut album released in 2022.
The Wet Leg album, which was shortlisted for this year’s Mercury Prize, is one of eight independent releases to have topped the Official Albums Chart in 2022 – a list that also includes work by rapper Central Cee (23), rock groups Don Broco (Amazing Things), The 1975 (Being Funny In A Foreign Language), Stereophonics (Oochya!) and The Wombats (Fix Yourself, Not The World), as well as post-punk band Fontaines D.C. (Skinty Fia). They are among nearly 60 independent albums that have reached the Top 10 in the year to date, including recent releases by the likes of Craig David (22), pop icon Kylie Minogue (Impossible Princess), rock group Massive Wagons (Triggered!) and Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Cool It Down).
Geoff Taylor, chief executive, BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, said of the new figures: “It’s a sign of just how vibrant and diverse the UK music industry is that independent labels are set to increase their share of the market for a fifth successive year in 2022. This growth is built on a rich tapestry of talent, from singer-songwriters and rock groups to pop stars and rappers, all supported by a network of hundreds of indie labels who are creating further diversity in the market and giving artists real choice in how to release their music.”