Category Archives: Research

10 Fundamental Things People Don’t Understand About Practice

By Nicolas Cole

People that boast how many days they’ve gone without sleep in hopes of proving their dedication to their craft are missing the point.

Practice is an art — it is not a simple “plug and chug” of hours in and skill level out. And in order to actually make the time you spend practicing meaningful, you have to bring a heightened level of awareness.

You have to know what to look for, what to fix, and ultimately, how to enter your “zone.”

1. It’s not about just “practicing.”

Going through the motions isn’t enough.

You have to be present and aware while you practice, and actively looking for all the things you still need to improve upon.

2. Your schedule and your practice times go together.

If you are practicing in the morning some days, evening other days, and afternoons at random, you are not as effective as the person who practices at the same time, every day.

Your schedule needs to be based around your practice hours — not the other way around.

3. Consistency is the most important part.

Rome doesn’t get built in a day.

You can’t go 5 days without practicing and then try to pull a 12-hour marathon to make up for lost time. Practicing a little bit each day is far more effective than day-long sprints.

4. The “sweet spot” for practice is 3–4 hours.

Reason being, that first hour you are still warming up, and that last hour you are entering “burn out.”

So in reality, a 4 hour practice session is really only 2 hours of truly quality practice — which means it is exceedingly important that you are “mentally present” during those middle 2 hours.

5. Don’t practice what you’re already good at.

Competition inherently looks for weaknesses.

If you are a master of one thing but a total newbie at another, then all someone has to do is target your weaknesses. Make it a point to practice what you’re not good at, so that you are more well-rounded.

6. Reflect after each practice session.

Ask yourself, “What did I improve upon today? Did I learn something new? Did I challenge myself? What can I work on next?”

You want to constantly be asking yourself questions so that you know what to improve upon next.

7. It’s not about “getting it done.”

It’s about getting it done “right.”

If you are the type of person who times how long you’ve been practicing, you’re already starting off on the wrong foot. It’s not about practicing for the sake of “just practicing.” You have to have a vision, something you are working toward.

Then, it no longer becomes about time. It’s about skill.

8. Study yourself.

The ability to watch and learn from yourself is also extremely undervalued.

If you are an athlete, record yourself playing your game. If you are a gamer, record your screen as you play. If you are a writer, go back through your work with a pen and look for improvement areas. If you are a musician, record yourself and listen to yourself play.

You will never be able to see your mistakes while you’re in the moment of practicing. So separate the two.

9. Watch other people.

If you can learn how to record and learn from your own practice sessions, you will have a better eye for watching how your competition operates as well.

You will be able to pick apart what it is they are doing, and then steal their strategies.

This learning then becomes an inherent part of you — your process.

10. Always be growing.

Always be looking for how you can improve.

Always be focusing on your weaknesses, not your strengths. Always be searching for new competition. It’s a journey and on you to stay moving forward at a consistent pace.

The Phenomenal Alexander Hrustevich – A true virtuoso

Alexander Hrustevich – Accordion Virtuoso

…a virtuoso was, originally, a highly accomplished musician, but by the nineteenth century the term had become restricted to performers, both vocal and instrumental, whose technical accomplishments were so pronounced as to dazzle the public.

In recent years, the term virtuoso has been overused and downgraded to include any artist who has command over their instrument. The word ‘proficient’ should suffice when describing most accomplished performers however, once in a while, a musician will come along who goes way beyond just proficient. I am reminded of the likes of Paganini,  Pavarotti and Jacqueline du Pre when looking to fit this bill.

Alexander Hrustevich fits the description perfectly. There is nobody more proficient at playing the accordion than Alexander.

Ukrainian-born Alexander Hrustevich is one of the best bayanists in the world. Mr. Hrustevich is constantly invited to perform in many countries, including Poland, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Serbia, Brazil and many others. Just recently, he performed with legendary musician and composer, winner of several Grammy awards Bobby McFerrin in a sold out, three thousand audience arena in Kiev.

The very first notes will take your breath away… Alexader Hrustevich is able to play the most complicated transcriptions of violin, piano and orchestra pieces with the bayan; starting with Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra and finishing with a fragment from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” Using his ten fingers at the same time, he is able to easily play both orchestra and violin parts. For these extraordinary abilities people and critics call Mr. Hrustevich – “the man orchestra“.

As prof. David Yearsley writes about Mr. Hrustevich’s recording, which he saw on Youtube: “The small stage on which Hrustevich demonstrates his art is festooned with yellow and orange balloons and fake flower garlands. The camera is hand-held, but despite all of this, you can feel how great are this virtuoso’s gifts.” The professor also compares his interpretations of Bach Passacaglia with a pianist: “Tricky passages that the pianist divided between the two hands, Hrustevich manages with one. He revels in the virtuosic spectacle of fingers flying and sliding and contorting over buttons and in the same time picking almost every note cleanly. It’s rather like playing the Bach Passacaglia on a travel typewriter, only harder.”(The Musical Patriot).

Born in 1983, Alexander Hrustevich started to play the bayan by the age of 6.  He graduated Ukraines National Academy of Music as a student of prof. Besfamilnov. Apart from his solo activity, he is also a member of the National Academy Orchestra.

Michael Griffin -The Magic of Musical Metacognition

Dear Music Teacher

I provide music department INSET focussing on the impact of growth and fixed mindsets, teaching for metacognition, cultivating an intrinsically motivated department, and the teaching of music practice. I’m presently taking bookings for my UK tour this September and October.

I tour each year from Australia, and have provided for numerous schools and music services throughout the UK. I am the author of ‘Learning Strategies for Musical Success’ and ‘Bumblebee! Rounds & Warm-ups for Choirs’.

Topics include:

Music and Mindset: Elephants in the Classroom!

From the ancient world through the Renaissance, artistic skill was viewed as an intuitive gift rather than the result of effort. Even today, musical ability is more often considered innately derived than any other ability or human faculty.

Indeed, 75 per cent of music educators subscribe to this theory that superior achievement in music is due to genetic endowment. To what end? Mindsets powerfully impact learning behaviour. Learners with a growth mindset work harder, embrace challenge, persist for longer and learn from criticism, whereas the fixed mindset gives up more readily and ultimately achieves less.

Teacher mindsets result in teacher expectations impacting student achievement. Mindset is the most important precept in music education today. It is that important that every music teacher understands the impact their beliefs, words and actions have on cultivating the learning disposition of students. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can cause irreparable damage.

The Magic of Musical Metacognition

Metacognitive teaching has the greatest impact on learning. It is that wonderful learning stage when the learner drives the learning. An umbrella term, metacognition means “thinking about our thinking”. It includes planning, questioning, monitoring, memorisation, self-reflection, self-knowledge about our learning strengths and weaknesses, and self-evaluation. It involves understanding our motivations, setting goals, knowing which practice strategies to implement, and being able to exercise self-discipline. It’s about knowing when and how to use practice strategies for maximum learning.

Metacognition enhances autonomy, powerfully impacting intrinsic motivation. How is this maximised in music teaching? Supported by the work of John Hattie and Gary McPherson, and specifically for music teachers, a tripartite model for fostering metacognition will be presented.

Deliberate Practice: Expanding Musical Potential

Many teachers focus instruction on what to practise, but the how of practise is the most important concern. Children who are unable to motivate themselves to apply deliberate practice strategies will lack real progress. Progress is the great motivator. If students do not think they are making progress, they quit trying. The best predictor of musical progress is the quality and quantity of practise time.

Types of repetition, chunking, and slow practise must be core. Engaging music students in metacognitive practice processes is the most effective means of guaranteeing progress. What is required is not just that students engage in the proper practise strategies, but that they know what they are, and are consciously aware of using them. How is this taught explicitly, and how can we be certain that students really understand practice?

Or have all three topics as part of a whole day of INSET. Return email for more. Independent teachers welcome to attend.

Michael Griffin


“Wonderfully inspiring – still on a high.” Guildhall School of Music, London

“So much information that is backed by research. Great advice and I’m inspired to try a new mindset in my teaching.” R Tombs, NSW

“I had a great day learning about how students are motivated by progress. We were taught all about how to determine progress and how to instil a growth mindset in our students. I then took what we learnt back to the classroom and my students are more motivated in their music practice.” J Goodwin, NSW

“Brilliant! Just what I needed to get back in the groove!!” – Hampshire Music Service, UK

“This was a first-class talk by a high calibre, international speaker. What a great start to a new school year. Red Maids, Bristol
An excellent talk this evening. Michael is a superb speaker and delivered key messages in such an engaging way.” Headmaster, King’s High School, Warwick UK

Developing Musical Skill Presentation 2018 (1)

Unlocking Musical Potential – Teacher PD UK 2018

Schools and conferences.

Learning Strategies for Musical Success

Bumblebee! Rounds & Warm-ups for Choirs

Join the fastest growing and most dynamic International Musicians Community – FFM on Facebook

Join Freedom For Musicians at our Facebook Home

Freedom for musicians is an international cooperative for musicians to share and cross promote each other’s work. In our Facebook group you can promote your gigs, products and
services to an international audience. You can also feature on our website

What Freedom for Musicians can do for you:

By joining the Facebook group you are automatically a member of FFM.

You can have your music blog or articles published on the website.

You can have your music videos and youtube channel published and promoted at FFM.

You can list your products and services on our musicians directory and in the musicians market.

You can publish your events and concerts on our Upcoming Events feature.

You can be a featured artist.

You can become an FFM Ambassador for your country.

Music students can featured in our Spotlight.

You can release your digital music via our own independent record label FFM Records.

Come and join FFM’s Facebook community and be part of the fastest growing and most dynamic international musicians network.

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Ready to Quit Your Day Job? – TOP 7 for Musicians

1) Ready to Quit Your Day Job and Be a Full-Time Musician?

Last week I answered questions during a Facebook Live broadcast. Here’s a segment where I covered knowing if you’re ready and how to deal with having a variety of creative passions.

2) Don’t Make This Self-Employment Mistake

Want to be your own boss? Great. But don’t get stuck in this common trap. In this video, I explain what this obstacle is and how to overcome it.

3) Seven Full-Time Musician Lessons from Dave Ruch

I’ve been following Dave for a couple years now. He’s a smart, savvy musician. In this article he shares seven things he wished he knew before he became a full-time musician.

4) 25 Quick and Easy Social Media Prompts to Post in a Pinch

This topic came up time and time again during the recent 30-Day Build Your Fan Base Challenge: What should I post every day so it doesn’t get old for me or my fans? Suzanne Paulinski has a nice checklist of ideas right here.

5) Apple Music to Surpass Spotify in the US

According to Bobby Owsinski’s Music 3.0 blog, Apple Music is growing at a higher new paid subscriber rate than Spotify is in the US. As a result, the service is on track to pass Spotify sometime during the summer of 2018.

6) The Most Powerful Way to Reach Your Fans

So many tools, so little time. What’s the most effective way to engage and interact with your fans? Want to know my top recommendation? This little gem, from my video archives, spells it out for you.

7) Attract More Fans — 4 Simple Steps

On this episode from my podcast archives, I present a simple four-step processyou can use to clarify who you are as an artist, identify your ideal fans, and reach them in a meaningful way.

Get TOP 7 music marketing links like these sent to your inbox every weekJust go here to sign up for free!

Thanks for all you do to create great music and share it with the world!


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For More Inspiration …

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Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook
201 Self-Promotion Ideas for Songwriters, Musicians and Bands on a Budget

The Five-Minute Music Marketer
151 Easy Music Promotion Activities That Take 5 Minutes or Less

The 9 Irrefutable Laws of Music Marketing
How the Most Successful Acts Promote Themselves, Attract Fans, and Ensure Their Long-Term Success

Please visit — where you can support the Empowered Artist Movement, my mission to educate, inspire and empower creative people around the world.

As the winter bites, FFM supports Crisis – It doesn’t need to be like this!

Rough sleeping in England soars by 15% with more than 4,700 people sleeping outside on any given night, new figures show

Crisis has described the 15 per cent rise in rough sleeping in England as a ‘catastrophe’, following continual rises since 2010, when evidence shows how the problem can be fixed.

The Government’s official annual street count found that on a given night in autumn last year 4,751 people were recorded sleeping rough. This is more than double since 2010.

Crisis is also warning that the true number of rough sleepers is far greater, as its own researchfinds that more than 8,000 people were currently sleeping rough across England, predicted to rise to 15,000 by 2026, if nothing changes. This is on top of an additional 9,000 homeless people sleeping in tents, cars, trains and buses.

While we welcome the Government’s commitment to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027, it is urging it to take immediate action through its Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Taskforce to tackle this emergency situation and help the thousands of people forced to sleep in dangerous conditions every single night.

Worryingly, those sleeping without a roof over their head are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence and 15 times more likely to have suffered verbal abuse compared to the general public, according to previous Crisis research.

Crisis has also published an evidence review undertaken by Cardiff University and Heriot-Watt University for the first time revealing the best evidence from here and around the world on what works to end rough sleeping.

The review finds the best way to end rough sleeping is by:

  • Widely adopting a housing-led approach where housing someone is made priority. This includes the use of Housing First, a programme which gives the most vulnerable rough sleepers their own home and specialist support.
  • Taking swift action to quickly end street homelessness through interventions such as No Second Night Out. This programme helps get people off the street and into accommodation and reduces the number of rough sleepers who develop further support needs.
  • Taking a ‘person-centred’ approach by tailoring support to take individuals’ needs into account, such as using personalised budgets to commission services.
  • Ensuring interventions take account of local housing markets and individuals’ needs.

Any strategy to address rough sleeping must address these principles and sit alongside good quality short term emergency accommodation and prevention services.

Chief Executive of Crisis Jon Sparkes said:

“It is truly a catastrophe that in a country as prosperous as this, more and more people are finding themselves forced to sleep in dangerous and freezing conditions, when we have evidence to show how the situation could be turned around. Today’s report makes it only too clear that unless we take action as a society, the problem is only going to keep getting worse with every year that passes.

“Rough sleeping ruins lives, leaving people vulnerable to violence and abuse, and taking a dreadful toll on mental and physical health. Our research has shown how rough sleepers are 17 times more likely to be victims of violence. This is no way for anyone to live.

“With the right support at the right time, homelessness doesn’t need to be inevitable. While we warmly welcome the Government’s pledges to tackle rough sleeping, including a Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Taskforce, now that we know the solutions to end rough sleeping for good we’re calling on the Government to take swift action to tackle the problem and fix it once and for all.”

In Times of Darkness and Depression Just Play the Wave of Bliss – Alai Alai

If you could sing joy, what would it sound like? Alai Alai is a song that carries the exuberance of being human. Composed by Sounds of Isha, it is an expression of the boundless joy which has seeped into the hearts of millions across the globe in the form of “Ananda Alai – A Wave of Bliss” which originates in Sadhguru – yogi, mystic and founder of Isha Foundation. Our special thanks to director (and Isha meditator) Rajesh Saathi for coming up with the idea for this video, and making it happen!

See Lyrics at Isha Blog:…

Download the Video: (Pay what you want)…

Download the album Alai: Wave of Bliss (Pay what you want)…

For more on Sadhguru visit

For more on the activities of Isha Foundation visit

To listen to more music from Sounds of Isha visit To see more of Rajesh’s videos visit… Learn Sadhguru’s free guided meditation

Tributes paid to South African musician and activist Hugh Masekela

‘Father of South African jazz’, who had career spanning more than five decades, dies aged 78

South Africans have paid tribute to Hugh Masekela, the legendary jazz musician and activist, who died on Tuesday aged 78.

The South African president, Jacob Zuma, said the nation would mourn a man who “kept the torch of freedom alive”. The arts and culture minister, Nathi Mthethwa, described Masekela as “one of the great architects of Afro-Jazz”. “A baobab tree has fallen,” Mthethwa wrote on Twitter.

A statement from the trumpeter’s family said Masekela “passed peacefully” in Johannesburg, where he lived and worked for much of his life, on Tuesday morning.

“A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with a profound loss. Hugh’s global and activist contribution to and participation in the areas of music, theatre and the arts in general is contained in the minds and memories of millions across six continents,” the statement read.

Relatives described Masekela’s “ebullient and joyous life”.

Masekela had been suffering from prostate cancer for almost a decade. He last performed in 2010 in Johannesburg when he gave two concerts that were seen as an “epitaph” to his long career.

South African social media was flooded with tributes to “brother Hugh”, whose career and work was closely intertwined with the troubled politics of his homeland.

The singer Johnny Clegg described Masekela as “immensely bright and articulate … an outstanding musical pioneer and a robust debater, always holding to his South African roots.”

Masekela was born in Witbank, a mining town in eastern South Africa, and was given his first trumpet by the anti-apartheid activist archbishop Trevor Huddleston, who formed a pioneering jazz band in Soweto in the 1950s that became a launchpad for many of South Africa’s most famous jazz musicians.

Masekela went on to study in the UK and the US, where he had significant success.

Hugh Masekela with ex-wife Miriam Makeba and Paul Simon in 1987.
 Hugh Masekela with ex-wife Miriam Makeba and Paul Simon in 1987. Photograph: Phil Dent/Redferns

As well as forming close friendships with jazz legends such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus, Masekela performed alongside Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s.

He returned to Africa where he played with icons such as Nigeria’s Fela Kuti, and in 1974 he helped organise a three-day festival before the “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing clash in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.

In 1976, the man who became known as the father of South African jazz composed Soweto Blues in response to the uprising in the vast township. He toured with Paul Simon in the 1980s while continuing his political engagement, writing Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela) in 1987. The song became an anthem of the anti-apartheid struggle. James Hall, a writer and broadcaster who spent time with Masekela in the 1990s, said he “could have prickly personality” at times “due to the tension and frustration of being away from his own country for so long”.

Masekela was briefly married to Miriam Makeba in the 1960s and remained on good terms with the South African singer after their divorce. “They had a wonderful friendship and were very, very close,” said Hall, who co-wrote Makeba’s autobiography.

Masekela refused to take citizenship anywhere outside South Africa “despite the open arms of many countries”, said his son, Selema Mabena Masekela, on Tuesday.

“My father’s life was the definition of activism and resistance. His belief [was] that the pure evil of a systematic racist oppression could and would be crushed. Instead he would continue to fight.”

After more than 30 years in exile, Masekela returned to South Africa in the early 90s after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and the end of apartheid.

In 2010 he performed at the opening ceremony of the football World Cup in Johannesburg.

Masekela had many fans overseas. “Hugh Masekela was a titan of jazz and of the anti-apartheid struggle. His courage, words and music inspired me … and strengthened the resolve of those fighting for justice in South Africa,” said Jeremy Corbyn on Twitter.

Hugh Masekela photographed for the Guardian in 2011.

My 39 Favorite Albums Of 2017 – Hanif Abdurraqib

Go to the profile of Hanif Abdurraqib


Much like last year, I have decided on a somewhat random number of albums. I do appreciate how the list format can be equal parts exciting and somewhat exhausting during this time of year. But for me, it’s a good place to mention a lot of albums that I loved but didn’t always get to write about or talk about a lot this year. In 2017, I went from (arguably) writing too much about music to not having nearly as much time to write about music as I wanted to. I hope to strike a balance in 2018. In the meantime, here are my 39 favorite albums of the year. Like last year, if there was good writing on the artist or album, I’ll link that as well.

39. Big K.R.I.T. — 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time

This track-by-track breakdown is really cool.

38. Wiki — No Mountains In Manhattan

37. Migos — Culture

You’ve probably read enough about Migos this year. Here’s a gif I like of Offset adjusting his cuff links in preparation for a potential physical altercation.

36. Paramore — After Laughter

This one really came and went for a lot of folks! This NYT profile was good.This Fader piece was also good. And though I try not to share my own stuff when I do these, I also enjoyed dissecting the album.

35. Syd — Fin

34. Gas — Narkopop

33. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings — Soul Of A Woman

This piece on the making of the album after the death of Sharon Jones is heartbreaking and good.

32. Sabrina Claudio — About Time

31. Julien Baker — Turn Out The Lights

A lot of good writing on Julien Baker this year — I most enjoyed thisthis, and this.

30. DJ Quik & Problem — Rosecrans

29. Bell Witch — Mirror Reaper

This Bandcamp piece about the album’s making and process is good.

28. Jonwayne — Rap Album 2

Jonwayne is not too big on interviews, but The Guardian did a solid one.

27. Idles — Brutalism

A good profile was done here.

26. Vince Staples — Big Fish Theory

Mychal Denzel Smith on Vince Staples was one of my favorite things to read this year.

25. Sleigh Bells — Kid Kruschev

24. Harry Styles — Harry Styles

Anne Donahue wrote many things on Styles this year, this was among my favorites.

23. Slowdive — Slowdive

Lots of cool stuff written on Slowdive’s return this year. I most enjoyed This Noisey profile and this NYT Piece on Shoegaze.

22. Converge — The Dusk In Us

It’s quite long, but this exhaustive history of Converge is very good.

21. Stormzy — Gang Signs And Prayer

There’s not enough good writing on Stormzy, I think. But I did enjoy this British GQ profile.

20. Chelsea Wolfe — Hiss Spun

19. Kendrick Lamar — Damn

A lot has been written about Kendrick and that’s fine but instead of any of those things, here’s 2 Chainz freestyling over the DNA instrumental — which was my favorite freestyle of the year until like three weeks ago.

18. Kelela — Take Me Apart

Loved this piece in The Fader.

17. Protomartyr — Relatives In Descent

All Songs Considered broke down the album well.

16. Rapsody — Laila’s Wisdom

15. Grizzly Bear — Painted Ruins

I enjoyed reading this GQ piece.

14. L.A. Witch — L.A. Witch

13. Power Trip — Nightmare Logic

A couple good interviews with Power Trip Here and Here.

12. Oddisee — The Iceberg

This profile was good.

11. Kelly Clarkson — The Meaning Of Life

There should be more in-depth writing on this era of Clarkson IMO, but this piece was a good one.

10. Daymé Arocena — Cubafonía

Short, but a good piece on the artist for those potentially unfamiliar.

9. 2 Chainz — Pretty Girls Like Trap Music

I wrote this pretty weird thing about 2 Chains and bowling.

8. LCD Soundsystem — American Dream

7. Jlin — Black Origami

Great feature on Jlin here.

6. Lorde — Melodrama

A lot has been written on Lorde this year, but I got some joy out of revisiting this Rolling Stone article from 2013, and then reading this one from 2017.

5. Thundercat — Drunk

Good profile here.

4. Open Mike Eagle — Brick Body Kids Still Daydream

3. Kehlani — SweetSexySavage

2. Richard Dawson — Peasant

1. Sza — CTRL

Here and Here and Here.

We are really ambitious for our members and in 2018 we want to offer scholarships, bursaries and financial assistance to aspiring musicians.

Help us achieve this by visiting our sponsor below

Album sales up as streaming soars

UK music fans streamed more music than ever before in 2017 – an astonishing total of 68.1 billion songs.

That’s the equivalent of everyone in the country playing 1,036 tracks, or almost three continuous days of music, on sites like Apple Music and Spotify.

Most of those songs were apparently by Ed Sheeran – who had four of the Top 10 biggest-selling singles of the year.

Trade body the BPI says streaming now accounts for more than half (50.4%) of all music consumption in the UK.

The figure is up from 36.4% last year – with a record 1.5 billion streams served in one week last December.

To put that in context, we are now streaming more songs in a single week than we did in the first six months of 2012.

If anything, though, the BPI is actually underplaying the success of streaming, as it relies on data from the Official Charts Company, which does not currently count music played on YouTube towards its figures.

It has been estimated that if YouTube was included, the number of streams accessed by music fans in the UK would double.

Most-streamed artists of 2017
1) Ed Sheeran
2) Drake
3) Little Mix
4) Eminem
5) The Weeknd
6) Calvin Harris
7) Coldplay
8) Kendrick Lamar
9) Stormzy
10) Post Malone

Overall, sales of music generated £1.2 billion for the UK economy last year, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association.

At the opposite end of the technological scale, sales of vinyl continued to grow, with 4.1 million LPs purchased in 2017.

Again, Ed Sheeran was the most popular artist on the format – closely followed by Liam Gallagher and Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black, which featured in the top five vinyl albums for the third year in a row.

CD sales down

However, vinyl only accounts for 3% of the overall music market, and its success is in stark contrast to the decline in CDs and downloads.

CD sales, which peaked at 162.4 million in 2004, now languish at 41.6 million.

Digital downloads are also on the way out, with just 13.8 million albums bought on stores like iTunes and Amazon last year, a drop of 23%.

Overall, music consumption was up by 8.7% – the fastest rise since 1998.

Sales and streams contributed £1.2 billion to the UK economy, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

Chart showing music consumption in the UK

Apart from Sheeran, the UK’s biggest artists included Rag N Bone Man, whose album Human shifted more than 885,000 copies by the end of the year.

Little Mix’s Glory Days continued to sell well, while Pink and Drake were the best-selling international artists.

It was also a better year for new artists after a dismal 2016, where only one British debut album (Bradley Walsh’s Chasing Dreams) went gold.

2017 saw the likes of Dua Lipa, Stormzy, Harry Styles and J Hus achieve the 100,000 sales milestone.

Rag 'N' Bone Man
Top 10 albums of 2017 (combined sales and streams)
Artist Title
1) Ed Sheeran ÷
2) Rag ‘N’ Bone Man (pictured) Human
3) Sam Smith The Thrill Of It All
4) Little Mix Glory Days
5) Pink Beautiful Trauma
6) Ed Sheeran x
7) Michael Ball & Alfie Boe Together Again
8) Drake More Life
9) Liam Gallagher As You Were
10) Stormzy Gang Signs & Prayer
Zara Larsson
Top 10 singles of 2017
Artist Title
1) Ed Sheeran Shape Of You
2) Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft Justin Bieber Despacito (Remix)
3) Ed Sheeran Castle On The Hill
4) French Montana ft Swae Lee Unforgettable
5) Ed Sheeran Galway Girl
6) Ed Sheeran Perfect
7) Clean Bandit ft Zara Larsson (pictured) Symphony
8) Rag ‘N’ Bone Man Human
9) Chainsmokers & Coldplay Something Just Like This
10) Jax Jones ft Raye You Don’t Know Me
Amy WinehouseImage copyrightPA
Top 10 vinyl albums of 2017
Artist Title
1) Ed Sheeran ÷
2) Liam Gallagher As You Were
3) Fleetwood Mac Rumours
4) Various Artists Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix 1
5) Amy Winehouse (pictured) Back To Black
6) Rag ‘N’ Bone Man Human
7) Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon
8) The Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
9) Oasis (What’s The Story) Morning Glory
10) David Bowie Legacy

Overall, the entertainment industry enjoyed a bumper year in 2017, with sales of video games, films, TV programmes, and music all recording growth for the fifth consecutive year.

Disney had the two biggest-selling film titles of the year – with the live action remake of Beauty And The Beast and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story collectively selling more than 2.9 million copies.

DVDs and Blu-Rays both saw a double-digit decline in sales, but revenues from streaming services like Netflix and Amazon grew by 22.2%, and now account for more than 70% of the video market.

According to ERA, the entertainment market as a whole reached a “new all-time-high”, generating £7.24 billion last year.

CEO Kim Bayley called it “an historic result” driven by new technology and innovation.

“New digital services are bringing ever increasing numbers of the UK population back to entertainment with 24/7 access to the music, video and games they want,” she said.

We are really ambitious for our members and in 2018 we want to offer scholarships, bursaries and financial assistance to aspiring musicians.

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