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April, 15

UK rap and hip hop the soundtrack to lockdown, BPI analysis finds

UK rap and hip hop the soundtrack to lockdown, BPI analysis finds

Rap and hip hop dominated the soundtrack to lockdown in the UK, with the genres accounting for more than a fifth of all singles listened to last year, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.

Homegrown stars including S1mba, AJ Tracey, Dave and Headie One all contributed to hip hop’s success, with each achieving over 50 million plays in the UK in 2020.

The findings counter the suggestion that locked-down listeners might turn to more introspective sounds.

Pop (32 per cent) remained the most popular genre, although dance music consumption fell to 8.9 per cent as nightclubs, where new floorfillers find an audience, shut their doors.

The BPI found titles classified as rap and hip hop have soared since the turn of the millennium.

Those artists made up 22 per cent of all singles consumed last year, including streamed tracks, while across albums the market share was 12.2 per cent.

Both figures represent all-time highs for the genre, the BPI, the UK record labels association, said.

Boosted by streaming, rap and hip hop’s market share is now over six times greater than it was in 2000, according to the BPI’s analysis.

The BPI started its annual genre analysis in the late 1990s and in the decade’s final year rap and hip hop’s share of the singles market was 3.6 per cent.

Where once US artists dominated the hip hop world, UK sub-genres such as grime have established a vibrant homegrown scene, producing international stars like Stormzy.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI, said: “The genre has exploded in recent years, propelled by artists such as Stormzy, Dave and Little Simz, who are creating a new narrative for British music and are leading a rising wave of British talent that is harnessing the power of streaming to achieve chart success.”

The data was taken from the BPI’s All About the Music 2021 report.

Listening to rock fell to 18.8 per cent of music consumption, with guitar bands suffering from the cancellation of gigs and festivals.

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