The year 2023 witnessed a surge in music trend & consumption, marked by the 16th consecutive annual increase in vinyl sales and a staggering 179.6 billion songs streamed. Female artists had a stellar year, claiming seven out of the top 10 singles, a record high since the inception of music records.
Leading the charge was Miley Cyrus, whose break-up anthem “Flowers” garnered an impressive 198 million streams. However, the top 10 best-selling albums showcased a different trend, as established acts dominated the charts. The Weeknd’s two-year-old compilation “The Highlights” secured the top spot, followed by Taylor Swift’s 2022 release “Midnights.” New albums by Lewis Capaldi, Olivia Rodrigo, and Ed Sheeran were overshadowed by “best of” collections from Elton John, Eminem, Fleetwood Mac, and Abba. The lone new entry in the top 10 was Taylor Swift’s re-recorded “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” originally from 2014.
The singles chart echoed a similar pattern, with classics like The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and Tom Odell’s “Another Love” sharing space with newer tracks by Calvin Harris, SZA, and Harry Styles. The availability of decades of music at the click of a button resulted in a preference for timeless classics, making it challenging for new music to make a significant impact.
According to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), Miley Cyrus’s “Flowers” was the sole song released in 2023 to achieve double platinum status, accumulating 1.2 million chart units. Albums from the same year failed to reach platinum status, representing a significant decline compared to previous years.
Music writer Patrick Clifton identified these statistics as indicative of a “crisis” in the British music industry. He argued that a new generation of artists struggles to build fanbases that will sustain long-term success, emphasizing the importance of cultivating a two-way relationship with fans on social media.
Despite the challenges, artists like PinkPantheress and David Kushner successfully translated viral success into tangible achievements, showcasing a shift in the industry. The singles chart for 2023 reflected this change, with Miley Cyrus leading alongside emerging talents.
The impact of TikTok was evident as superstars like Miguel and The Weeknd saw overlooked album tracks reenter the charts. The “long tail” effect continued, with older songs generating streams long after their initial chart run. The vinyl charts, traditionally reserved for collectible classics, now boasted a more contemporary feel, with seven of the top 10 albums being new releases.
While music trend and consumption thrived in 2023, the dominance of established acts in album sales and the challenge for new artists to make a lasting impact raised concerns about the future of the industry. The shift towards social media engagement and the influence of platforms like TikTok showcased evolving dynamics within the music landscape.