Harry Styles dominates as UK music streams double in five years, breaking 150 billion in 2022

Harry Styles at Spotify
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur / Getty)

Harry Styles secured the UK double in 2022, scoring top spot in both album and single sales, while streaming continued to surge, the BPI has revealed in its 2022 summary report.

According to the industry body, music streams broke the 150 billion mark for the first time, growing 8.2% year-on-year, accelerating from 2021’s 5.7% increase.

Unsurprisingly, physical music sales continued to decline overall, but within that vinyl again grew, up another 2.9% last year, selling 5.5 million units. That makes it 15 consecutive years of growth - not bad for a format that was supposed to be ushered to the retirement home by the launch of the CD. CDs still heavily outsell vinyl, shifting 11.6 million units, but that’s significantly down year-on-year, dropping nearly 20% in 2022. 

Vinyl’s growth contributed to an overall increase in music consumption, which the BPI reports saw a 4.3% rise, totaling the equivalent of 166 million albums. Cassettes quietly had a good year, too, climbing 5.2% to a total of just under 200,000 units.

But streaming’s dominance remains secure, cornering 86.1% of ‘Streaming Equivalent Albums’. 159 billion tracks were streamed in the UK, meaning online listening has doubled in five years and is now 40 times bigger than it was 10 years ago. 

Within the overall numbers, British artists locked out the top 10 singles in the UK for the first time since end-of-year charts were launched over 50 years ago. Harry Styles’ As It Was was toppermost of the UK poppermost, hotly pursued by Ed Sheeran, who claimed second and third spots with Bad Habits and Peru, alongside Fireboy DML. In the Album chart Sheeran again lost out to Styles, with = at number 2, while Harry's House topped the list.

The UK’s Top 10 biggest songs of 2022

1 - As It Was - Harry Styles
2 - Bad Habits - Ed Sheeran
3 - Peru - Fireboy DML & Ed Sheeran
4 - Go - Cat Burns
5 - Shivers - Ed Sheeran
6 - Running Up That Hill - Kate Bush
7 - Heat Waves - Glass Animals
8 - Where Are You Now - Lost Frequencies/Calum Scott
9 - Afraid To Feel - Lf System
10 - Seventeen Going Under - Sam Fender

Top UK albums 2022
1 - Harry's House - Harry Styles
2 - = - Ed Sheeran
3 - Midnights - Taylor Swift
4 - The Highlights - Weeknd
5 - Sour - Olivia Rodrigo
6 - Curtain Call - The Hits - Eminem
7 - Diamonds - Elton John
8 - 50 Years - Don't Stop - Fleetwood Mac
9 - Between Us - Little Mix
10 - Gold - Greatest Hits - Abba

Will Groves

I'm lucky enough to be MusicRadar's Editor-in-chief while being, by some considerable distance, the least proficient musician on the editorial team. An undeniably ropey but occasionally enthusiastic drummer, I've worked on the world's greatest music making website in one capacity or another since its launch in 2007. I hope you enjoy the site - we do.