BPI Member Report - Grime: From The Underground To The Mainstream
07 Nov 2017
Grime’s rise to prominence has not been achieved overnight. While some underground movements, such as punk, gathered momentum quickly, grime, which has origins in the early 2000s, has only relatively recently begun to attract real attention from the mainstream.
This report takes a look at how grime has grown as a commercial force, both in terms of sales and streaming, and also evaluates its broader influence. It is not a comprehensive overview of its impact across the board, rather an attempt to place how it is faring in relation to the overall UK recorded music market.
This new analysis by labels’ body the BPI produced in association with Disrupt Media and the Official Charts Company, which seeks to evaluate the position of grime within British music, points to the urban music genre’s growing commercial impact.
A string of artist breakthroughs have helped bring grime to the fore. While its origins can arguably be traced to the turn of the millennium and artists such as Dizzee Rascal and Wiley, the awarding of the 2016 Mercury Prize to Skepta’s Konnichiwa marked a new breakthrough for grime as a commercial and critical force. This was reinforced by Skepta’s acclaimed performance of Shutdown at the 2017 BRIT Awards and by the Boy Better Know star picking up Best Songwriter and Best Contemporary Song at the 2017 Ivor Novello Awards.
Stormzy too has enjoyed a remarkable run, scoring the first pure grime No.1 album on the Official Albums Chart in March, with his Gold-certified debut Gang Signs & Prayer, and a memorable guest performance on Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You at the BRITs among its highlights. Other artists to achieve top 10 albums since 2016 include Kano, Krept & Konan, Giggs, Bugzy Malone and Wiley among others.
Grime may have its roots in London, but it is now part of the successful wave of British music that is connecting with fans around the world and promoting Brand Britain. Collaborations with a host of international stars, including Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Drake are helping to spread its appeal.
This BPI analysis finds that when grime tracks and albums released in the UK between May 2016 and 2017 are converted into the industry standard Album Equivalent Sales (AES) metric (combining streaming with singles and album purchases to produce an overall consumption figure2), grime strongly outperformed the overall recorded music market. During this 12-month period grime’s 2 million-plus AES total represented a remarkable 93 per cent rise in consumption – compared to an increase of 6 per cent for the market overall.
Publ. June 2017
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