UK music industry contributed £5.2 billion to economy in 2018

20 November 2019, 08:36 | Updated: 21 November 2019, 18:06

Successful British acts including Ed Sheeran helped exports of UK music soar to £2.7 billion
Successful British acts including Ed Sheeran helped exports of UK music soar to £2.7 billion. Picture: PA

The music industry contributed £5.2 billion to the UK economy in 2018, with the live music sector hitting a record-high of £1.1 billion.

Millions of tourists flocked to the UK for concerts and festivals, boosting revenue by ten per cent – from £991 million in 2017 to £1.1 billion last year.

Successful British acts including Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Sam Smith helped exports of UK music soar in 2018 to £2.7 billion, according to UK Music’s inaugural Music By Numbers report.

Employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 190,935 in 2018, with live sector jobs passing the 30,000 mark – up seven per cent from the previous year.

Crowds watching Lewis Capaldi perform at TRNSMT Festival
Crowds watching Lewis Capaldi perform at TRNSMT Festival. Picture: PA

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.

Overseas visitors to UK shows and festivals surged by ten per cent 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.

The recorded music sector contributed £568 million in GVA to the UK economy, which is a rise of five per cent on £535 million in 2017, and £478 million in exports - an increase of eight per cent on £452 million.

Reflected within this figure, label revenues rose three per cent in 2018, representing the third year of consecutive growth.

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.

“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.

Dua Lipa on stage during The Global Awards 2019
Dua Lipa on stage during The Global Awards 2019. Picture: PA

“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”.

Stormzy performing at Scotland's TRNSMT Festival
Stormzy performing at Scotland's TRNSMT Festival. Picture: PA

Writing in the report’s foreword, 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.

“As this report reveals, music is a hugely successful British export worth £2.7 billion a year and we need to work together to ensure this success continues.

“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.”

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