London, 23rd July 2018 – All sectors of the British music community have come together with BBC Music to proudly announce a new annual event – the first-ever National Album Day on Saturday, 13th October 2018.
National Album Day will mark the culmination of a week-long series of events and activity around the country that will celebrate all aspects of the UK’s love of the album – new releases and classic recordings across all genres of music. It will also pay tribute to the sleeve artwork that contributes to the album’s iconic appeal. This inaugural event comes in a year that coincides with the 70th anniversary of the album1.
James Stirling, Head Of Content Commissioning, BBC Music, says: “BBC Music is proud to support the first National Album Day. The role of the album has evolved over 70 years – through vinyl and beautiful artwork to current streaming consumption – yet the story behind a great album remains an important part of British culture. We look forward to exploring the album in all its glory and telling these stories across the BBC.”
National Album Day is announced at a time when demand for albums remains strong, underlining the format’s cultural and commercial significance and its enduring appeal at the heart of British recorded music. In 2017 135m albums, or their equivalent, were either purchased, downloaded or streamed, a rise of 9.5 per cent on the previous year. 4.1m of these were on vinyl – the highest level since the start of the 1990’s. The BPI estimates that a staggering 5 billion albums have been sold in the UK since the format’s advent in 1948.
Further evidence of the format’s continuing relevance is provided by an ERA tracking study in May 2018, which showed that nearly 60 per cent of respondents had listened to an album in full in the month prior to the online survey. And whilst albums are most often associated with older music consumers, the research suggested that it is actually younger fans who are more likely to have listened to an album recently: over half (55%) of those polled aged 25 or below said they had listened to an album in the previous week, compared with 45 per cent of 45-54 year-olds and just 33 per cent of those aged 55 or above. The research also challenged the notion that albums are a male preserve – with nearly four in ten (38%) female consumers having listened to an album in the week prior to the study, compared with 45 per cent of male respondents.
Kim Bayley, Chief Executive ERA, says: “Individual tracks may have stolen the limelight over the past few years, but British music fans love albums as much as ever. National Album Day is an opportunity to throw the spotlight back on to long-form listening and we are delighted that the Record Store Day team will play a key role in establishing this first-time event working alongside our friends and colleagues at the BBC, the BPI and the wider music community.”
Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards, adds: “It is fitting that, in this 70th anniversary year, we should look to create a special moment that celebrates the UK’s love of the album and the huge role it plays at the heart of our popular culture. The album has underpinned the phenomenal success of recorded music the world over, providing artists with a compelling medium through which to express their creativity and fans the freedom to engage with all shades of music through the stories that it tells.
“Streaming may be broadening our ability to access and discover music, but the concept of the album as a body of work that expresses a narrative or an artist’s creative vision at a given moment, remains as relevant and inspiring as ever.”
What does the album mean to you?