Streams, led by 'Uptown Funk,' driving music market in US and UK

Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk" featuring Bruno Mars is a trans-Atlantic hit.

Reports released this week on US and UK music sales reveal some parallels across the two regions, including a significant rise in streams, a slight decrease in CD sales, and high times for vinyl.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) revealed in its mid-year report that streams are up 80 percent -- a trend it expects will be bolstered further with Apple Music's entry into the market.

Leading streams was Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk!," which has been played 45 million times via audio streaming this year.

Both audio and video streaming showed considerable growth: 2015 has seen 12.5 billion video streams, for a year-on-year increase of 98 percent.

Vinyl LPs continue to attract buyers, with demand having risen 56 percent and suggesting a possible year-end tally of two million sales, which would be an all-time high since vinyl monitoring began in 1994.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' "Chasing Yesterday," and rock albums in general, are said to be leading vinyl sales.

CD sales have long been in the decline, and while they're not experiencing an upturn, the drop has slowed to 4.4 percent in the UK from 10.4 the same time last year. Sam Smith's "In the Lonely Hour" and Ed Sheeran's "X" lead CD sales, but the BPI credits the compilations market -- especially the "Now That's What I Call Music!" series -- as a bolstering factor.

How does the US compare?

According to Billboard, which revealed details of Nielsen's own mid-year report for the US market, trends are looking fairly similar in the two markets.

Streaming was up 92 percent, with video streaming having increased by 109 percent and audio by 79 percent. Ronson's "Uptown Funk!" led streams and digital song sales.

Vinyl sales grew by 38 percent, representing an ongoing upward trend and dominated by Taylor Swift's "1989," which also tops album sales for the first half of the year.

And as in the UK, CD sales dropped, here by 10 percent, while download album sales dropped by 4 percent -- casualties of the age of streaming, as the reports suggest.

Indeed, the BPI predicts that as music fans try out Apple Music over the next three months, and services such as Spotify and Google Play enhance their offerings, streaming on dedicated audio services will continue its rise.