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Music Industry Contributes £5.2 Billion to UK Economy – new figures reveal

UK Music’s inaugural Music By Numbers report was published today (20 November) and reveals the key role music plays in the economy.

Photo of person releasing confetti into the air
The report reveals firm evidence that the British music industry is in great shape and continuing to lead the world. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The key facts in Music By Numbers 2019 include:

  • The UK music industry contributed £5.2 billion to the UK economy in 2018
  • The Live Music sector made contribution of £1.1 billion in 2018 - up 10% from £991 million in 2017
  • Employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 190,935 in 2018
  • The total export revenue of the music industry was £2.7 billion in 2018
  • Music tourism alone contributed £4.5 billion spend to the UK economy in 2018 - up 12% from £4 billion in 2017
  • Overseas visitors to UK shows and festivals surged by 10% from 810,000 in 2017 to 888,000 in 2018

The flagship annual economic study by UK Music and its members showed that the music industry continued to grow last year across every sector.

Positive figures across the industry

UK Music measures the health of the music business each year by collating data from their partners about the industry’s contribution in goods and services, known as Gross Value Added (GVA), to the UK’s national income or Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Exports are part of this contribution.

Millions of fans who poured into concerts ranging from festivals to grassroots music venues generated a contribution of live music to the UK’s economy of £1.1 billion – up 10% on 2017.

Although Glastonbury Festival did not take place in 2018 when the data for the report was collected, the rise in the number of other festivals across the UK, particularly in Scotland, such as TRNSMT and Sunday Sessions, boosted the numbers.

Employment in the Live Music sector rose by 7% to 30,529 - up from 28,659 in 2017.

The recorded music sector contributed £568 million in GVA to the UK economy, which is a rise of 5% on £535 million in 2017, and £478 million in exports - an increase of 8% on £452 million. Reflected within this figure, label revenues rose 3% in 2018, representing the third year of consecutive growth.

Now is not the time for complacency

MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge welcomed the new report:

"The Music By Numbers report pulls back the covers of an industry that has a history of taking a guarded and precious approach to revealing the facts and figures.

"As such it is an invaluable lobbying tool and a powerful argument to reinforce the economic and social importance of the music business."

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said:

“Our report reveals firm evidence that the British music industry is in great shape and continuing to lead the world.

“However, this is not a time for complacency. We face many challenges to ensure we keep our music industry vibrant, diverse and punching above its weight.

“We need to do more to protect grassroots venues by helping them combat soaring business rates. We need to nurture the talent pipeline, including by reversing the decline of music in education, so that children from every background have access to music.

“We need to make sure that creators get fair rewards for their content and are not ripped off by big tech. And we urgently need to ensure that the impact of Brexit doesn’t put in jeopardy the free movement of talent, just at the time when we should be looking outwards and backing the best of British talent right across the world”.

Add your voice to our call

Although the figures revealed in Music By Numbers present great news for the UK’s music industry – it is crucial now more than ever that we take steps to protect it in the build up to Brexit.

Staying in the EU is still the best option for musicians. But if the UK has to leave, then we need to make sure the terms and conditions work for musicians working in the EU. This Musicians’ Passport must:

  • Last a minimum of two years
  • Be free or cheap
  • Cover all EU member states
  • Get rid of the need for carnets and other permits
  • Cover road crew, technicians and other staff necessary for musicians to do their job

Over 29,800 people have signed the petition already. Add your voice to our call. Sign the petition now.


Published: 20/11/2019

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