Bromley’s Bowie’s popularity soars with fans after posthumous sales boost

PUBLISHED: 08:42 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 08:42 18 May 2017

The late great David Bowie on stage. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

The late great David Bowie on stage. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

In the year after his death his albums were purchased or streamed 1.6 million times

David Bowie was the most popular recording artist of 2016 in the UK as fans flocked to listen to his music in the months after his death.

Bowie died in January, 2016 at the age of 69 after a battle with cancer, and in the year that followed his albums were purchased or streamed 1.6 million times as fans revisited his extensive work that spanned six decades, according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

The late British singer-songwriter’s tracks were streamed more than 127 million times and over half a million were downloaded over the course of the year.

Bowie’s final album Blackstar, released two days before he died, is 2016’s sixth-most popular record of the year across all formats, and is the top seller on vinyl.

The BPI calculated the number of albums purchased either on CD or vinyl, downloaded or streamed by British music buyers last year using the industry’s standard Album Equivalent Sales metric.

Adele came in second place with her combined album recordings generating 1.2 million equivalent sales.

It was a strong year for British music artists in general, the BPI has revealed in their annual yearbook All About the Music 2017, as the UK is currently the world’s third biggest recorded music market behind the US and Japan.

The UK is the second largest digital and streaming market after the US.

Globally, British acts were responsible for one in every eight albums sold in 2016.

British artists’ domination on home soil continued in 2016, too, as seven of the year’s top 10 best-selling records were released by Britons, with Adele’s 2015 release 25 topping that list.

The Bromley-born singer’s effort came second on the international top 10 list behind Beyonce’s Lemonade.

British acts managed to take four of the top 10 spots on the global album sales list, with Bowie’s Blackstar triumphing again at number five.

According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Bowie was the second most popular global recording artist of 2016 behind Canadian rapper Drake.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive at BPI and Brit Awards, said the UK is “punching above its weight” internationally.

He added: “This is an exciting time for British music as more fans enjoy today’s new artists and also explore the infinite jukebox available on streaming services.

“Consumption and revenues are on the up, powered by investment and innovation that is driving streaming subscriptions, whilst recordings on vinyl and CD continue to demonstrate their enduring appeal.”

The BPI yearbook, the 38th edition, is an extensive guide to the UK recorded music industry in numbers, with full analysis and detailed commentary on market trends based on Official Charts, IFPI and other data.

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