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£5.2bn contributed by music industry to UK economy – report

UK Music’s Music By Numbers 2019 report, published on 20 November, reveals the importance of music to the UK economy, with an overall contribution of £5.2bn in 2018.

The flagship annual economic study showed that the music industry continued to grow last year across every sector. Successful British acts including Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Sam Smith helped exports of UK music soar in 2018 to £2.7bn.

UK Music is the umbrella organisation which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry and measures the health of the music business each year by collating data 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.

Music By Numbers 2019 key facts

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

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.

‘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.

‘Not a time for complacency’

‘Live music is now at a record high and continues to draw millions of fans from both the UK and abroad to our arenas and smaller venues alike. Music exports are another amazing success story with the best of British creative talent being showcased across the globe.

‘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.’

Writing in the report’s foreword, the Culture Secretary, Nicky Morgan, said:

‘This year’s Music By Numbers report reveals the industry is worth an amazing £5.2 billion to the economy and the live music sector is breaking the £1 billion barrier…

‘We are seeing exciting new artists like Sam Fender, Dave and Little Simz achieve great success and the figures in this report are testament to the outstanding creativity of our world-leading artists.

‘We know there are also some specific challenges for the music industry. From protecting intellectual property to safeguarding the grassroots sector and growing the talent pipeline, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will continue working with UK Music to allow this country’s music industry to grow and flourish.’

View the full report below