Are Rock bands dying out? Solo stars, the likes of Ed Sheeran and Adele, now account for 60% of sales, pushing out the majority of bands from featuring in the charts.
A decade ago, bands including Snow Patrol, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, Arctic Monkeys and Oasis enjoyed multi-platinum sales as UK Rock enjoyed a revival. Gorillaz and Faithless represented Dance music whilst Westlife flew the flag for pop groups among the best-sellers.
But today the situation has been turned on its head. New analysis of the top 1,000 selling artist albums of 2015 by industry body BPI found that the market share for solo artists has soared to 60%.
Coldplay’s “A Head Full of Dreams” was the only non-solo artist title to feature in the top ten best-sellers of 2015 with Elvis Presley and Justin Bieber joining Adele, Sheeran and Sam Smith all taking the 5 tops spots.
The trend has continued into 2016 – solo albums dominate with just Coldplay and Little Mix enjoying group status in this week’s Top 20 – So what’s to blame?
Most speculate that the widespread closure of small venues that gave bands like the Arctic Monkeys and Muse their first break is hindering the opportunities for new groups to develop. In London, 40% of small music venues have shut in the last decade, and the epidemic is nationwide.
Giving British bands a bigger platform is vital in the midst of smaller stages disappearing, which is why it’s a bold and brave move for upcoming festivals in 2016 to be giving their headliner positions to bands. Leeds and Reading have already announced their headliners to include Foals – Featuring in the Best British Group category at next week’s Brits awards. Bestival have announced The Cure and Hot Chip as headliners, and T in the Park have announced The Stone Roses, The 1975, and The Courteeners.
Our appreciation of great bands hasn’t died down, but the sales have…roll on summer and let’s see if this trend will change? Just as a BPI spokesman said: “Everything is cyclical. It just needs one band to excite everyone and that creates a new trend.”