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Value of UK music industry tops £5.2 billion, says UK Music

By | Published on Wednesday 20 November 2019

UK Music

Cross-sector trade body UK Music has updated its big “value of the music industry” figure, which the lobbying group cleverly calculates each year so that stat-loving politicians can then quote it back at them. And the figure is up, up, up: from £4.5 billion last year to £5.2 billion this year. Partly because of growth across the sector, and partly because UK Music has expanded its definition of the music industry.

This figure is the ‘gross value added’ by the music business to the wider UK economy. UK Music compiles it by pulling in data from across the different strands of the music industry, and then breaks down the resulting stats by those strands. These used to be shared via a report called ‘Measuring Music’. The new ‘Music By Numbers’ book published today revamps things a little, and also includes music tourism data previously released separately.

In an outline of its methodology, UK Music notes: “This year … we have expanded the elements of the industry about which we collect data and have developed a new definition of what constitutes the core UK music industry”. Newly included in the big count are music lawyers and accountants, recording studios, and – most significantly – the music retail sector, including the often forgotten musical instrument makers and sellers.

In terms of breakdown by strand of the music industry, the group called music creators -which brings together artists, songwriters and, as of this report, record producers too – still has by far the biggest GVA of £2.5 billion. Live music is then the next biggest strand of the business with a GVA of £1.1 billion, a 10% increase on last year’s figures.

The music rights sector, however, is split across three strands. The GVA of the recording industry is £568 million, while for music publishing its £459 million. Then some of the £402 million allocated to music retail is for monies kept by the retailers on the sale of discs, downloads and subscriptions, which is essentially also music rights income. Put all that together, and music rights probably out-performs live.

Other big number stats in the new report include music industry export revenues of £2.7 billion, a £4.5 billion contribution to the UK economy from the wider music tourism sector, and an estimate that 190,935 people were working in the music industry in 2018.

Launching the new report, UK Music boss Michael Dugher said: “Our report reveals firm evidence that the British music industry is in great shape and continuing to lead the world. The figures are hugely encouraging and show that, as well as enriching the lives of millions of people, music makes an incredible contribution to the UK’s economy”.

Still, despite the rude health, there remains work to be done to keep things moving in the right direction. Obviously. Because that’s the point of reports like this. Demonstrate the value of your industry to political types, and then present your wish list of reforms and initiatives you want from Parliament and the government. As soon as we have such a thing.

“This is not a time for complacency”, added Dugher. “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”.

And, of course, “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”.

You can download UK Music’s ‘Music By Numbers’ report here.