This month the UK’s BRIT Awards achieved their biggest television audience in three years, drawing in 3.9 million viewers due to scheduling the event on a Saturday for the first time¹.
According to the broadcaster, ITV, the BRITs also attracted a 53% audience share of the younger audience – 16-34 year-olds. This is a challenging audience demographic for the BRIT awards with 30% lower awareness amongst Gen Z (compared to the general population). However, this is an audience that the UK music industry is no doubt looking to engage with as Gen Z spend 39% more on music (including streaming subscription, live music, festivals, vinyl etc.) than the average UK music listener².
Following on from his Grammy’s success the week prior, Harry Styles was the winner in all four categories in which he was nominated including Best Artist, Best Song and Best British Album. But does his success reflect the likes and musical interests of the key Gen Z audience that the UK music industry is looking to target?
Not exactly, as the UK Gen Z audience’s top listened to genre is UK Rap², which includes Grime, Drill and Road Rap – a genre reflected in other BRIT award nominees up against Harry such as Dave, Stormzy and Central Cee. In addition Harry Styles’ likeability as an artist is higher among the Millennial generation (aged between 27-41) and Gen X (aged between 42-58) than Gen Z. The younger demographic are much more likely to be fans of the UK rapper Dave, who is twice as likely to be known by Gen Z than by the general population in the UK, and liked by 72% of Gen Z who know him
Despite not being to the Gen Z taste, Harry Styles is an international powerhouse artist and an excellent ambassador for UK music with the fourth biggest album of 2022³ in the U.S. and the third most globally successful song in 2022 with As It Was*.
The export of UK top talent is a role the UK’s recorded music trade organization (and organizer of the BRIT Awards), the BPI, supports through its Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS), jointly funded with the Government. A concern for the UK music industry is the increasingly competitive international landscape. Last year, whilst still CEO of the BPI Geoff Taylor said “continued success isn’t guaranteed, as competition increases from international markets, making it harder to cut through and putting pressure on our global market share.”
PinkPantheress is a great example of the type of the UK artist capturing international and British Gen Zers’ attention – UK Gen Z are her #1 audience. Propelled to international success by TikTok and growing her U.S. fan base with a re-mix of her 2022 hit “Boy’s A Liar” featuring U.S. rapper Ice Spice – a song that has seen a 500% increase in streams week on week**.
With ongoing competition on the global playing field, UK talent continues to shine through when it comes to breaking internationally.
³Luminate Year End Report 2022
*BPI Press Release – 20th July 2022
**Luminate Music Connect U.S. – week 6 2023 compared with week 5 2023