Business News Labels & Publishers

BPI calls for government support to realise potential of billion dollar recorded music exports

By | Published on Thursday 18 February 2021


British recorded music exports reached £489 million in 2019, but could top a billion pounds a year by 2030 as global recorded music revenues continue to expand, mainly fuelled by the streaming boom.

That’s according to a new report from record label trade group BPI, which also makes a number of requests of the UK government to help power that future export growth. Key among those requests is that, as Brexit Britain seeks to negotiate new trade deals with countries around the world, ministers include on their priority list making it easier for British artists to both tour and fully enforce their copyrights in other markets.

The BPI’s stats crew begins with the prediction that continued growth of the digital market could see global recorded music revenues rise to $40 billion by 2030. If the UK record industry’s exports continue to grow at their current rate during the same period, they would more than double to that billion pounds a year point.

Digital revenues continue to grow in mature music markets in North America and Western Europe, though – of course – streaming also opens up opportunities in numerous emerging markets too. That said, streaming also makes the global music market more competitive, and arguably reduces the advantage Anglo-American artists have traditionally had when it comes to export potential.

“The expansion of the global streaming market means stiffer competition, with smaller countries such as the UK having to work harder to gain a share of listening on streaming platforms worldwide”, states the BPI. Therefore, to ensure that the UK industry can achieve that target of doubling its exports in a decade, the government should “strike a new strategic partnership with the music industry to seize this exceptional opportunity, so that the full economic and cultural potential of British music can be realised”.

As for what that “new strategic partnership” might involve, the BPI provides a list of its top five priorities. That includes renewal of the government-funded Music Export Growth Scheme that helps independent artists and labels capitalise on export opportunities, and the introduction of incentives like tax-breaks to make it more attractive to produce recorded music in the UK.

There are two copyright-related demands too, one seeking top quality copyright enforcement at home, and the other “raising standards of copyright protection and enforcement in key export markets through trade negotiations, and not accepting any watering down of UK copyright in deals”.

And finally, the BPI backs the wider industry’s call that the government do everything it can to make it as easy as possible for British artists to tour globally, that being a very newsworthy demand, of course, given the massive backwards step in that domain caused by Brexit.

Commenting on the BPI’s latest stats, predictions and demands, the group’s CEO Geoff Taylor says: “We are at a pivotal moment for British music on the global stage. As the UK works to build back from COVID-19 and forge its future as an independent trading nation, music can play a vitally important cultural and economic role”.

“Because of streaming”, he adds, “our country has a huge opportunity to connect artists with fans in ways never before possible. There is a £1 billion prize to be gained for the UK, which would benefit artists, fans and the UK economy alike”.

“We are today putting forward a plan to work with government to support touring and showcasing by more UK artists and deliver substantial growth in music exports”, he continues. Music companies of all sizes, he says, “will directly benefit and amplify the extensive work record labels do to develop and promote British music globally”.