Report reveals music industry contributes £5.2bn to UK Economy

The inaugural Music By Numbers was published today (Wednesday) and the economic study by UK Music and it’s members demonstrated that the music industry continued to grow last year across every sector.

Bekki Bemrose
  • By Bekki Bemrose
  • 20 Nov 2019
  • min read
The inaugural Music By Numbers was published today (Wednesday) and the economic study by UK Music and it’s members demonstrated that the music industry continued to grow last year across every sector.

The live music sector made a contribution of £1.1bn in 2018, which was up 10 percent from £991m in 2017.

Additionally, music tourism contributed £4.5bn – up 12 percent from £4bn in 2018 – while overseas visitors to UK shows and festivals grew by 10 percent from 810,000 in 2017 to 888,000 in 2018.

Meanwhile, the total export revenue of the music industry was £2.7bn in 2018 and employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 190,935 in 2018.

The success of acts including Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Sam Smith are thought to have driven the rise in exports of UK Music.

Despite the fact that Glastonbury Festival didn’t take place in 2018, when data for the report was collected, the rise of other events across the UK, especially in Scotland, are attributed to the boost in numbers.

The recorded music sector contributed £568m to the UK economy, rising 5 percent on £535m in 2017

UK Music measures the health of the music business each year by collating data from its partners about the industry’s contribution in goods and services, known as Gross Value Added (GVA), to the UK’s national income or Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Exports are part of this contribution.

Michael Dugher, chief executive, UK Music, says: ‘Our report reveals firm evidence that the British music industry is in great shape and continuing to lead the world.

‘The figures are hugely encouraging and show that, as well as enriching the lives of millions of people, music makes an incredible contribution to the UK’s economy.

‘Live music is now at a record high and continues to draw millions of fans from both the UK and abroad to our arenas and smaller venues alike.

‘Music exports are another amazing success story with the best of British creative talent being showcased across the globe.

‘However, this is not a time for complacency. We face many challenges to ensure we keep our music industry vibrant, diverse and punching above its weight.

‘We need to do more to protect grassroots venues by helping them combat soaring business rates. We need to nurture the talent pipeline, including by reversing the decline of music in education, so that children from every background have access to music.

‘We need to make sure that creators get fair rewards for their content and are not ripped off by big tech. And we urgently need to ensure that the impact of Brexit doesn’t put in jeopardy the free movement of talent, just at the time when we should be looking outwards and backing the best of British talent right across the world.’

Andrea C. Martin, chief executive, PRS for Music, adds: ‘Music By Numbers reveals the vital impact British music continues to have on the creative economy. It’s incredibly important that we recognise the contribution of music creators and the talented teams that support them, so that they may continue to be relevant, to be world-class, and to ensure future growth for the UK music industry.’

Writing in the report’s foreword, culture secretary Nicky Morgan said: ‘This year’s Music By Numbers report reveals the industry is worth an amazing £5.2bn to the economy and the live music sector is breaking the £1bn barrier.

‘We are seeing exciting new artists like Sam Fender, Dave and Little Simz achieve great success and the figures in this report are testament to the outstanding creativity of our world-leading artists.

‘As this report reveals, music is a hugely successful British export worth £2.7bn a year and we need to work together to ensure this success continues.

‘We know there are also some specific challenges for the music industry. From protecting intellectual property to safeguarding the grassroots sector and growing the talent pipeline, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will continue working with UK Music to allow this country’s music industry to grow and flourish.’

To read the full report, please visit