Despite the unprecedented challenges of 2020, overall consumption of recorded music in Ireland rose year on year, the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) can confirm today.

New data from the Official Charts Company and IRMA, illustrates the resilience of the Irish singles and albums market in the face of adversity, thanks to strong streaming and vinyl growth, as well as through the success of homegrown talent such as Dermot Kennedy and international stars like The Weeknd who claim Ireland’s top album and single of the year.

Ireland’s singles sector saw a 19% year-on-year rise in 2020, with 71.8 million singles either streamed, downloaded or physically purchased. Total streams broke 9 billion for the first time, up from 7.69 billion in 2019, while audio streams rose 20% to 8.2 billion.

On the albums front, despite the closure of physical stores through lockdown and delays to the manufacturing process because of the COVID-19 pandemic, albums consumption increased overall by 3% year-on-year. 3.8 million albums or their streaming equivalent were consumed in 2020, with streaming and vinyl performing particularly strongly.

Album streams increased 19% year-on-year, while vinyl album sales jumped by an impressive 42%. 309,000 albums were purchased on wax across the year, compared to 218,000 in 2019. Vinyl now accounts for 8.1% of the total Irish albums market.

Willie Kavanagh, Chairman of IRMA, said:

"The growth experienced in recorded music in 2020 is a clear indication of the importance Irish people place on music and especially in the trying times of repeated Lockdowns. Record retailers have reinvented how they do business online demonstrating adaptability and resourcefulness in a time of forced closure of their retail outlets. In addition, the introduction of our Homegrown Chart has helped promote more Irish artists and will continue to do so going forward.

However, it is important to remember that this growth in recorded music is against a backdrop of a devastating fall in income from live work for Irish musicians, live venues, nightclubs and festivals. We continue to encourage Government to support the livelihoods of the live music industry and its contribution to our culture."