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KMPG report bigs up BBC’s role in the British music industry’s economic impact

By | Published on Thursday 22 October 2015


The British Broadcasting Corporation, with all it’s playing of tunes and championing of pop stars, “made a significant positive contribution to the £3.8 billion that the UK music industry generated in the UK economy in 2013”. That’s not me speaking, that’s the beancounters at accountancy firm KPMG. And whoever heard of an unreliable accountant? No one, that’s who. So it must be true.

KPMG has been looking at the impact the BBC has in response to the UK government’s recent green paper on the future of the Corporation, aka “Let’s Fuck Up The Beeb: Draft One”. One of the areas that the BBC Trust-commissioned research considered was music, with the conclusion reached that “the scale of the BBC’s music-related activity suggests that its economic impact in this area could be significant”. Woah, hang on, “could be” significant. Who added the “could”? Bloody accountants, fudging everything.

But hey, we do know that BBC radio “consistently plays more unique tracks per station than commercial radio” and that “case studies of artists like London Grammar, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith show that the BBC’s early support for these artists helped to drive their success and were a factor in their contribution to the music industry economy”. Phew. No coulds there.

“BBC radio was the first to provide airtime for the majority of London Grammar’s tracks”, the research notes. “Of seventeen songs played on UK radio, fifteen were played first on the BBC. In their record label’s view, the BBC was likely to have played a role in the estimated £4.3 million that album sales of London Grammar’s ‘If You Wait’ generated to the UK economy”.

Likely? Oh well, there’s more: “The BBC was the first to play Sam Smith singles, on Radio 1, in 2012 and 2013, and Ed Sheeran had his first ever UK radio play on Radio 1Xtra. Radio 1 playlisted two Clean Bandit singles and supported three before any commercial radio station had played Clean Bandit’s music. And the BBC’s support for emerging artists like Andreya Triana and Shaun Escoffery has boosted their careers and their contribution to the music industry”.

So there you have it. We all know the BBC plays a hugely important role in nurturing, supporting and championing British music, and especially new talent and niche genres. We also know that the music community has been very vocal about that important role as the government’s review has gotten under way. But now we have it all there in black and white, thanks to the eminent masters of the BBC Trust and their esteemed assessors-of-truth at the KPMGs. What a glorious day.

Though the BBC has just announced another edition of the utterly pointless, totally unnecessary, entirely futile, wholly gratuitous, thoroughly irrelevant, altogether needless, recklessly redundant and wholeheartedly superfluous, money-squandering, time-wasting, energy-zapping, air-time-eating executive-ego-fest that is the BBC Music Awards. So come to think of it, perhaps the Tories are right. Let’s shut the whole fucking shit parade down.