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Figures Reveal UK Music Industry’s Pre-Covid £5.8bn Boost to Economy

UK Music’s annual Music By Numbers report reveals the £5.8bn boost to the economy before Covid-19’s catastrophic blow – and renewed calls for Government action to protect the industry.

Photograph of an empty stage, looking out from the back towards where the audience would be, with bright lights shining down.
We can only hope that, with the right support from the Government we can retain the talent and get them back to work safely as soon as possible. Photo credit: Shutterstock

UK Music unveiled its Music By Numbers 2020 report today (November 18) as it called for urgent help to revive “our world-leading industry”.

Since 2013, UK Music – an umbrella organisation of which the MU is a part – has published an annual report which reveals the economic contribution of the UK music business to the British economy.

The new figures in the Music By Numbers 2020 report are for the 12 months up to December 31 2019. They do not reflect the devastating impact of the Covid-19 just weeks later in early 2020.

The key facts in Music By Numbers 2020 include:

  • The UK music industry contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019 - up 11% from £5.2 billion in 2018.
  • Employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 197,168 in 2019 - an increase of 3% from 190,935 in 2018.
  • The total export revenue of the music industry was £2.9 billion in 2019 - up 9% from £2.7 billion in 2018.
  • In addition to the industry’s direct economic contribution, music tourism alone contributed £4.7 billion in terms of spending to the UK economy in 2019 - up 6% from £4.5 billion in 2018.

Read further details and download the report from UK Music's website.

The industry now faces a marathon effort to get back on its feet

However, the pandemic and social distancing restrictions meant venues were forced to close as the pause button was pressed on huge swathes of the music industry.

Despite the buoyant 2019 figures outlined in Music By Numbers, the industry now faces a marathon effort to get back on its feet as it strives to return to pre-Covid levels of success as swiftly as possible.

MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge commented on the bittersweet nature of the news:

"At a time when the live music industry in particular is on its knees and many musicians are in dire financial hardship, only carrying out about a quarter of their usual work, it is bittersweet to be reminded of the success of the British music industry in pre-Covid times.

“With the right investment from the Government during the remainder of this pandemic, we will bounce back and be stronger than ever."

MU Deputy General Secretary, Naomi Pohl, commented on how the report highlights the importance of the music industry in the UK:

"This report reminds us how truly fantastic the UK music industry is. We punch well above our weight globally in terms of talent, make a major contribution to the British economy and support 200,000 employed jobs as well as a huge freelance community of creators and performers.

“We can only hope that, with the right support from the Government during the Covid-19 crisis, and the incredible dedication and passion of all those who work in and love music, we can retain the talent and get them back to work safely as soon as possible."

Take action now

It’s vital that the UK Government takes steps to protect the musicians who fall through the gaps in their support schemes.

Take action now and join our urgent call to the Government to do more – ask your MP to make your voice heard in Parliament.

You can use our template letter if you’re not sure what to say. Remember to include how you are affected too – personal stories make all the difference.

Write to your MP now.


Published: 18/11/2020

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