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Music provided a £4.4 billion boost to the UK economy in 2016

By | Published on Wednesday 20 September 2017

UK Music

Cross-sector trade group UK Music has published the latest edition of its ‘Measuring Music’ report, which seeks to put a figure on the contribution the British music industry makes to the country’s economy. This year’s report also includes some insights on what the music community thinks about bloody Brexit.

In terms of your top line figures, UK Music says that the music industry’s contribution to the British economy increased by 6% in 2016 so that the sector’s so called ‘Gross Value Added’ was £4.4 billion.

Of that, over £1.1 billion was generated by the music rights sector, breaking down as £640 million from recordings and £473 million from songs. Live then generated £1 billion. Though it is the music makers – artists, musicians, songwriters and composers – who together make the biggest contribution to the economy, at £2 billion.

The UK music business is benefiting, of course, from the recorded music industry’s return to growth globally, fuelled by the streaming boom. Though, according to UK Music’s figures, music publishing and live saw much bigger GVA increases. While recorded music saw growth of 5%, publishing was up 15% and live up 14%.

Nevertheless, when commenting on the latest edition of ‘Measuring Music’, UK Music boss Michael Dugher’s customary post-brag gripe focused on the big issue for the record industry – that pesky value gap and fucking YouTube – rather than the challenges faced by the live side of the business: ie secondary ticketing and the struggling grass roots venues.

Said Dugher: “The headline figures in this year’s ‘Measuring Music’ report are undoubtedly excellent news. The number of new jobs created in the UK rose at a faster pace than the rest of the employment market and our export figures shot up across the board. The outlook for the music business is better than it has been in years”.

But, never forget the ‘but’. “But”, Dugher added, “we urgently need to address the ‘value gap’ on the new and exciting platforms that many people now use to listen to music. Unlike subscription services, those platforms often offer little adequate reward to the investors and creators of the music that drives so much of their traffic. There is still too often a culture of denial from the big tech firms. The way people listen to music may be changing, but certain fundamental responsibilities must continue. It’s time for the free ride to come to an end”.

In terms of the Brexit survey, the trade group found that just 2% of the music community expected the UK’s exiting of the European Union to have a positive impact on their business. Increased bureaucracy for European tours, new duties on discs and merch manufactured elsewhere in Europe, and the fact the tech lobby is generally more influential in London than Brussels, are all possible Brexit concerns for music makers.

When asked “what impact will Brexit have on your work”, 50% said they feared a negative impact, a fifth expected it to have no impact, while 28% gave the correct answer of “we just don’t know”. For more on the possible impact of Brexit on the UK music business, check this report on the discussion that occurred on that very topic at CMU Insights’ Export Conference at The Great Escape earlier this year.



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