UK music industry declines 4.8% in 2010

UK music industry declines 4.8% in 2010 yet export success continues

PRS for Music’s annual ‘Adding up the UK music industry’ report has revealed that UK music industry revenues totalled £3.8bn in 2010. 

Revenues for the UK industry experienced a drop of 4.8%, down £189m from a high of £3.9bn in 2009. Fewer stadium gigs in 2010 cooled the live boom and consumers continued to spend less on recorded music, especially in the fourth quarter, as disposable income remained under pressure. Licensing income for record labels, publishers, artists and songwriters increased at home and abroad, while money earned by the industry from sponsorship and advertising also grew.

The report by PRS for Music’s economists Will Page & Chris Carey analyses the diverse mix of revenues, rights and relationships that made up the UK industry in 2010, including consumer spending on CDs, downloads and live music as well as business-to-business revenues (such as music in computer games, films and TV).

Highlights of the Adding up the UK music industry 2010 report include:

  • UK music industry revenues totalled £3.8bn in 2010, down £189m (4.8%) on 2009. The decline in the spend on live and recorded music offset the growth in business-to-business licensing revenue
  • Consumer revenues from live and recorded music fell 7.3% to £2.7bn and now constitute 72% of the total industry
  • Total business-to-business licensing revenues from PRS for Music, PPL and activities such as sync licensing and artist endorsement grew 2.2%
  • The UK strengthened its position as a net exporter of music and is growing its trade balance three times faster than the U.S.
  • Through continual diversification of their business models, non-physical earnings now account for an estimated 41% of total revenues for UK record labels
  • The value of UK digital music rights is now estimated at £260m with the UK the number one market in terms of digital music spend per capita
  • Advertising and sponsorship (including live music sponsorship, event creation, artist endorsement, digital, TV and advertising support) grew 4.2% on 2009 to £94m



The remarkable ability of UK music to continue exporting its songs and artists overseas will be key to driving the industry, and the UK creative economy, forward. It comes as no surprise that the overall numbers are down 5%, as consumers are feeling their wallets tighten, forcing tougher choices as a result. However, the licensing revenue streams which lie outside of the conventional radar, are not only displaying impressive growth but illustrating the pace of diversification now taking place with the UK music industry.

Will Page - Chief Economist, PRS for Music

The music industry is not immune to the pressures facing the wider economy and therefore we have seen revenues dip in 2010. The Adding up the Industry Report demonstrates how this £3.8bn industry continues to adapt and change, and what a significant contribution it makes to the UK both creatively and to the economy. Understanding the business fully will help both the industry and the government achieve future growth in the creative sector.

Robert Ashcroft - CEO, PRS for Music

Understanding and appreciating all the revenue streams that UK music generates is essential to future growth. Licensing music, as well as selling it, is increasing in its relevance to artists and songwriters and will be key to growing this industry.

Chris Carey - Senior Economist, PRS for Music

I'm really pleased to see the increasing depth and quality of figures from the music industry.  Without good data, we won't get the right UK policy and regulatory framework and these things really matter for the health of the business.

Professor Ian Hargreaves

 To read the full report please view our industry research.

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