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Music contributed £4.1 billion to UK economy last year, says UK Music

By | Published on Monday 12 September 2016

UK Music

There are lots of stats to digest in the latest ‘Measuring Music’ report from cross-sector trade group UK Music, though if you’re looking for the tl;dr, try this: it’s all going very well thank you very much, but, you know, fucking YouTube, and please stop shutting down all our grassroots venues. Oh yeah, and something about Brexit.

In the fourth edition of ‘Measuring Music’, UK Music reckons that the wider music industry contributed £4.1 billion to the UK’s economy last year, using the ‘gross value added’ metric. That’s only slightly up on 2014, though is 11% higher than the first time UK Music calculated a GVA for the sector in 2012.

With the GVA of recorded music down 4% since 2012, live music has played a key role in the wider industry’s growth over the last four years. Though it too saw its GVA slip slightly last year, a development put down to the well documented closure of a number of grass roots venues around the country.

Therefore helping said grassroots venues thrive again, whether through funding or licensing reform, remains a key objective of UK Music, alongside working to ensure that the streaming sector continues to boom, possibly enabling the recorded music side of the business to go back into growth as soon as this year.

Although, as we know, UK Music – along with the record industry’s trade groups and music publishing organisations – reckons the God darn value gap caused by those bloody safe harbours is hindering that process. Hence “fucking YouTube”. And continued lobbying efforts to reform the European law that provides the safe harbours.

However, there is a new call in the latest UK Music stats pack in terms of seeking government assistance, this one recognising that very soon European law may not apply in this United Kingdom. The UK music industry is a champion exporter, with ‘Measuring Music’ reckoning that more than half of the sector’s GVA comes from exports, well above the economy-wide ratio of around 30%. Bloody Brexit, therefore, is a concern. Though also possibly an opportunity, given British music’s worldwide appeal.

UK Music CEO Jo Dipple said: “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”.

The trade group’s Chairman, Andy Heath, meanwhile honed in on more familiar concerns, ie the good old value gap, noting the trends that could now be seen over the four years of ‘Measuring Music’ reports that have been published.

“The growth in revenues from streaming services reflect a well understood change in music consumption”, he said. “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”.

For its part, the government welcomed the latest UK Music report. 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”.

Having noted the industry’s successes, she continued: “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”.

And then, echoing remarks made at the BPI AGM last week by her colleague at the Department Of Culture, Media & Sport – Matt Hancock MP – as if they possibly shared a speech writer, she concluded: “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”.

Download yourself a copy of ‘Measuring Music 2016’ here.