Cross-sector trade group UK Music has published its annual study on the economic impact of the British music industry, stating that the music sector at large "contributed £6.7 billion to the UK economy during 2022 in terms of gross value added. Exports topped £4 billion and employment stood at 210,000".
UK Music and its research partners changed their methodology when compiling this latest report, which makes comparisons with previous editions in terms of GVA, export and workforce figures tricky. And, of course, in 2020 and 2021 the figures were considerably down on normal anyway because of the COVID pandemic and the shutdown of live music.
However, the trade body says, while side-by-side stat comparisons are not possible, "in 2022 the UK music industry outperformed 2019 by a significant margin to produce its best year ever. We know this from assessing various contributing metrics, including revenue figures".
So that's all good. Although reports like this one - which are in no small part targeted at government - need to strike the balance between "everything is really great, we're brilliant" and "actually everything is fucked, we need more government support".
Of course, in the top heavy music industry - and especially the top heavy live sector - that's not actually a contradiction, because while everything is going great at the upper end of the market, lots of things are fucked at the grassroots.
The hangover of COVID, surging energy prices, a cost of living crisis and lots of Brexit bullshit are creating what are sometimes insurmountable challenges in the grassroots music community.
The report notes: "Small venues, independent festivals, recording studios and music creators all face financial pressures at home in the UK and from the consequences of Brexit, particularly for touring artists and musicians".
Plus, more generally, when it comes to exports, plenty of people point out that the global music market is becoming ever more competitive. And while the UK continues to punch above its weight, the British industry can't afford to be complacent.
Says UK Music Interim CEO Tom Kiehl: “The UK music industry and its exports have grown beyond doubt to hit new heights, which is fantastic news in terms of our sector’s contribution to jobs and the economy. However, the competition for international markets is intensifying rapidly".
"The UK’s competitors are increasingly well funded and can often count on far more support from their governments", he goes on. “South Korea, Australia and Canada have invested heavily in music and cultural export offices to help grow their overseas markets".
"The UK has several successful export schemes, such as the Music Export Growth Scheme and the International Showcase Fund", he adds. “However, we need far more support - otherwise we risk the UK being left behind in the global music race and that would be a bitter blow for music industry and a missed opportunity to grow our export market”.
You can download the 'This Is Music 2023' report at the link below.