Two-thirds of most successful UK albums came from outside London last year

A new report has found that two-thirds of the most successful 300 albums in the past year have come from artists who hail from outside London.

Sound City crowd

A new report has found that two-thirds of the most successful 300 albums in the past year have come from artists who hail from outside London.

The UK government’s largely undefined concept of ‘levelling up’ across the country might at least be taking place in the music industry – not that the UK government have likely had much to do with it.

That’s because a new report published by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the music industry’s trade association, has shown how the North West region of the UK is leading the way for artists with the most successful albums in the past year.

Using Official Charts Company data, artists in the nations and regions outside of London made accounted for 62% of the most successful albums. And if the largely London-based genres of rap and grime are removed from the equation, this share rises to 74%.

St George's Hall in Liverpool

Liverpool tops the list for having the highest number of successful musical acts outside of London.

What’s more, nearly four-fifths of rock albums on the chart (79%) were by artists not from London. Manchester and Liverpool accounted for 17 of the top 300 albums by UK artists in the last 12 months, which is part of the 29 albums in total from artists from the North West region.

The full order of regions with the most successful acts outside of London is as follows:

  1. Liverpool
  2. Glasgow
  3. Manchester
  4. Birmingham
  5. Brighton
  6. Bristol
  7. Sheffield
  8. Leeds
  9. Nottingham
  10. Wigan

Glasgow comes in second-place with the recent success of acts such as Chvrches and renewed appeal for acts like Franz Ferdinand and Texas; Glaswegian outfit Mogwai also achieved their first UK Number 1 last year with As The Love Continues.

The appearance of Brighton and Leeds on the list have been helped by acts such as ArrDee and Yard Act (bit of a mouthful), respectively. Alt-J, who released The Dream in February this year, were also formed in Leeds. Bristol, meanwhile, comes in sixth with the help of rock band IDLES.


ArrDee is helping put Brighton even more on the current musical map.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, has said: “The UK has long been recognised as one of the world’s leading music cultures, with a track record of producing globally successful superstars.

“This new BPI analysis highlights that artistic talent continues to be nurtured and developed across all parts of the UK, and it’s this rich diversity both musically and geographically, supported by record labels, that is the key to our global music status and should be protected and enhanced.”

Within London – just to focus on the capital for a moment – Lambeth finishes as the borough with the most successful artists. This is thanks to the likes of Brixton-born, Streatham-raised rapper Dave, whose album We’re All Alone In This Together was one of the biggest records of the past year.

And whilst they say “West is best” that’s not quite true with this list. Hammersmith & Fulham did come fourth, however, due to Shepherd’s Bush rapper Central Cee and Hammersmith’s Arlo Parks.

Arlo Parks

Hammersmith’s Arlo Parks.

The full list of rankings for London boroughs with the most successful artists is as follows:

  1. Lambeth
  2. Haringey
  3. Hackney
  4. Hammersmith & Fulham
  5. Kensington & Chelsea
  6. Lewisham
  7. Camden
  8. Newham
  9. Westminster
  10. Islington

Leave a Reply

More like this