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Music contributes £4.1bn to UK economy

September 12, 2016

adeleAccording to Measuring Music 2016 – an annual economic study that reveals the true scale of UK music’s vast contribution to the UK economy – published by UK Music – the umbrella organisation which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry – 2015 proved to be another buoyant year for music with increased export growth across the sector contributing to a £4.1 billion (€4.85bn) overall contribution to the UK’s economy.

Measuring Music gives UK Music the ability to map the growth and scale of British music. Over the last four years, the industry has shown itself to be both resilient and robust, growing consistently despite difficult circumstances and a recession. During this period GVA contribution was up 17per cent, with exports and employment both up 11 per cent outgrowing many areas of the UK economy. This strong, steady growth in employment indicates that music is an expanding industry.

Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley MP said: “Of all the albums sold across the globe last year an incredible one in six was by a British artist. The extraordinary success of artists like Coldplay and Adele added billions to our economy. We want to maintain and build on that success. The Government is working closely with industry bodies, such as UK Music, to make it easier for these artists to do business and is investing in music education to nurture the next wave of successful British artists, who we want to see perform across the whole world.

But the value of music goes beyond the economic. People around the world get their first taste of British culture via our music, while for millions at home it is a source of entertainment and creative expression. Above all, it simply brings us joy. I want all our children, from every background, no matter what their aspirations, to have music in their lives.”

The live sector has played an important part in this growth, particularly around exports, which have grown by 90 per cent during the past four years. In 2015 a total audience of 27.7 million attended live music events in the UK. In 2015 the live market showed a slight dip in its overall GVA contribution, predominantly attributable to a decline in grassroots music venues. According to UK Music, it is essential to ensure the challenges facing this vital part of the music-ecosystem are addressed in order to secure continued growth and investment in live music. “We need policies and investment to secure a platform for the headliners and chart toppers of tomorrow,” it declares.

British recorded music continues to dominate charts all over the world with five of the top 10 selling artists in the world last year, and 1 in 6 albums bought globally is by British talent. The global recognition and success of UK artists such as Adele, Coldplay and Ed Sheeran helped music exports rise again last year with growth up 8.9 per cent from 2014. In order for the sector to continue to grow we must work on policies that will maintain our export power, especially as we prepare to enter a post-Brexit marketplace.

Another core challenge facing the British music industry has been adapting to new patterns of music consumption. Over the past four years we have seen a massive shift from ownership to streaming. Paid subscription streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and Deezer are now providing a significant boost to the digital music economy. To some extent, the impact of streaming is off-setting declines elsewhere in the market. Subscription streaming is now a key to the continued success of the industry and the value of paid services jumped from £168 million in 2014 to £251 million in 2015.

The streaming market is a strong and growing part of the music economy, says UK Music. “For the potential of streaming to be fully realised, it must operate fairly and value the music that creates business and traffic for the service. The debate on fair remuneration for rights holders from digital services like YouTube and from all user-uploaded content has never been more important if our future digital market is to continue to grow and prosper. Sustainability and stability are critical for future growth,” it states.

UK Music Chief Executive, Jo Dipple said: “Measuring Music 2016 shows the strength and resilience of the British music market over four years. Distribution changes, trends may come and go, but all the while our music outperforms both in the UK and all over the globe. The UK needs to solidify its new post-Brexit place in the world and music will undoubtedly be part of the glue that does this. Our export profile is astounding which is partly why music, like sport, gives the world an understanding of our small country. UK Music’s goal is to work with Government to convince them to give us policies as good as the music we produce.”

UK Music Chairman, Andy Heath said: “The value of this economic research is that it demonstrates both the strengths in our market, of which there are many, as well as weaknesses over time. The growth in revenues from streaming services reflect a well understood change in music consumption. However, there are services showing a huge increase in music consumption for barely a nudge in revenues. It’s in the wires behind the consumer experience, between artists, rights owners and services where fair terms of trade, or not, are established. Let’s work really hard to get those wires right. If we can do that, the unstoppable rise in consumption will be reflected in value back to the industry.”

 Music’s contribution to the UK in 2015:

  • 2015 saw a £4.1 billion contribution by the music industry towards the UK economy in GVA (Gross Value Added).
  • 119,020 full time jobs were provided within the music industry in 2015. The vast majority of which are individuals working in its creative heart – composing, creating, recording and shaping the future of music. These musicians, composers, songwriters, performers and lyricists contributed £2 billion to the economy alone.
  • Music exports contributed £2.2 billion in revenue in 2015. This is over half of the industry’s total GVA – well above the economy-wide ratio of around 30 per cent.
  • Export growth in the live sector was an impressive 35 per cent in 2015. Bolstered by an increase in music tourism during the year. In excess of 767,000 overseas music tourists attended live music concerts and festivals in 2015 generating £1.1 billion towards the UK economy.
  • Sales exports of recorded music were up 8.9 per cent, bolstered by the global success of UK artists like Adele, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. In 2015 one in six of all artist albums sold across the globe were by British artists, whilst five of the top ten selling albums were by UK acts.
  • The huge global success of Adele’s third album 25 looks set to boost the economy throughout 2016. It has already sold in excess of 20 million copies worldwide since it was released on November 20th 2015. It is now certified 10 x Platinum in the UK.

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