Value of Music Tourism to the UK Economy Revealed

New report by UK Music identifies 6.5 million music loving tourists generated £2.2 billion while attending UK festivals and concerts in 2012.

A new report by UK Music identified 6.5 million music loving tourists who generated £2.2 billion while attending UK festivals and concerts in 2012.

The study "Wish You Were Here" reveals that tourists at live music events add billions to the UK economy and motivate Britain-wide travel stimulating regional economies. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of music tourism happened outside London. The Stone Roses gig, Heaton Park, generated over £20 million for the Manchester economy. An example of how music tourism is driving local economic recovery.

The “Wish You Were Here” report shows that music tourism not only generates a big cash injection to local economies but it creates and supports over 24,000 jobs.

VisitBritain’s ambition is to attract a total of 40 million overseas visitors by 2020. UK Music is committed to working with VisitBritain and other Government agencies to ensure that we get a similar increase in music tourists.

We call on Government to adopt a Music Tourism Strategy and start developing joined-up policies with us to help exploit this economic advantage. Government should be driving our economic recovery with its strongest hand, of which music must be one finger, and music tourism a second.

"Wish You Were Here" reveals:

  • Direct spend by music tourists – buying tickets, paying for transport and accommodation – was worth £1.3 billion
  • Further indirect music tourism spend – additional spending along the supply chain generated by music tourists – adds a further £914m, making a total spend of £2.2bn
  • The average live music audience is comprised of 41% music tourists
  • Music tourists from overseas spend, on average, £910 while attending festivals and £602 while attending concerts (average tourist spend is £600)
  • Domestic music tourists spend, on average, £396 while attending festivals and £87 while attending concerts
  • Overseas tourists account for 6% of music tourism visits but account for 20% of the spending

It's clear our music industry is doing a great job for the British economy, encouraging 6.5 million tourists who generated £2.2 billion last year. Music tourism created over 24,000 jobs. Just think what we might achieve with policies that specifically target the music tourist in this country and abroad? Our opportunities are limitless. Consider the record demand for Glastonbury 2014. The love of music is a powerful driver for growth.

Jo Dipple, UK Music CEO

Wish You Were Here" can hopefully persuade the powers that be that music is already a powerful tourism tool that is generating more than £2bn in spending and boosting local economies all over this country. Imagine what could be achieved with a little more backing and support from our friends in Westminster.


This report confirms that the UK’s music scene has significant international appeal and that music tourists spend lots of money and travel across the whole of Britain. This will act as a catalyst for us all to ramp up our activity and forge better relationships with festival organisers, promoters, venues and producers to raise awareness of our amazing music scene across the world.

Sandie Dawe, VisitBritain CEO

Music for me is the only global language. It’s such a huge thing for Britain to have strong live music, making our mark as performers across the world.

I see international visitors at my gigs all the time waving their flags. Fans that have dedicated their time and money so I try to give them all that I have every performance. I love the thought of them going back to their home towns across the world with that lasting memory of me performing on stage.

Jessie J, Brit award winner and GREAT ambassador

The new UK Music and VisitBritain study follows a recent and sustained spike in interest around music tourism. Over the summer many senior politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron, creative minister Ed Vaizey and shadow minister for culture Dan Jarvis, referred to the music industry’s potential for attracting overseas visitors to events such as Glastonbury and Bestival.


Music is without question an essential element of Britain’s tourism appeal, and it is this ability of the UK’s music industry to attract tourists from near and far to our shores that is celebrated in this report. The huge financial contribution to the UK economy by the millions of music tourists to the UK annually makes it very clear that when combined, the music and tourism industries are powerful drivers for growth.

Ed Vaizey MP, Culture Minister

Notes to Editors

For more information please call Dorothy Levine at UK Music on 0207 306 4445 or email

Wish You Were Here: Music Tourism’s Contribution to the UK Economy.

The report identified that 6.5 million music loving tourists attended a festival or gig last year in the UK, generating spend of £2.2 billion in the process.

Last year there were, 6.5m music tourists contributing £2.2bn total spending and sustained 24,000 jobs.

The analysis, conducted by Oxford Economics, took a relatively conservative approach. The report confined its investigation of music tourism to ticketed live music events held in venues with capacities of at least 1500 that were exclusively centred around live music – WOMAD, the Notting Hill Carnival and Beatles tours of Liverpool, for example, were not included.

Domestic music tourists were defined as anyone travelling at least three times their normal commute to attend the concert or festival. That meant in some cases they had to travel distances up to 47 miles to qualify.

Similarly, a strict definition was applied to overseas music tourists: only those that purchased a concert or festival ticket from an overseas address prior to the live music event were counted in the study.

UK Music represents the UK’s commercial music industry. It provides research to inform policy to support songwriters, composers, artists, musicians, studio producers, music managers, music publishers, major and independent record labels, music licensing companies and the live music sector.

VisitBritain is the national tourism agency, a non departmental public body, funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, responsible for promoting Britain worldwide and developing its visitor economy.

About UK Music

UK Music is a campaigning and lobbying group which represents every part of the recorded and live music industry.

UK Music’s membership comprises of:

  • AIM – Association of Independent Music ‐ representing over 850 small and medium sized independent music companies
  • BASCA ‐ British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors – with over 2,000 members, BASCA is the professional association for music writers and exists to support and protect the artistic, professional, commercial and copyright interests of songwriters, lyricists and composers of all genres of music and to celebrate and encourage excellence in British music writing.
  • The BPI is the trade body of the recorded music industry representing 3 major record labels and over 300 independent record labels.
  • MMF ‐ Music Managers Forum ‐ representing 425 managers throughout the music industry
  • MPG ‐ Music Producers Guild ‐ representing and promoting the interests of all those involved in the production of recorded music – including producers, engineers, mixers, re‐mixers, programmers and mastering engineers
  • MPA ‐ Music Publishers Association ‐ with 260 major and independent music publishers in membership, representing close to 4,000 catalogues from all genres of music
  • Musicians’ Union representing 30,000 musicians
  • PPL is the music licensing company which, on behalf of over 75,000 members (65,000 performer members and 10,000 recording right holder members), licences the use of recorded music in the UK
  • PRS for Music is responsible for the collective licensing of rights in the musical works of 100,000 composers, songwriters and publishers and an international repertoire of 10 million songs
  • UK Live Music Group, representing the main trade associations and representative bodies of the live music sector.

About PRS for Music

Here for music since 1914, PRS for Music is a world-leading music collective management organisation representing the rights of more than 175,000 talented songwriters, composers and music publishers. Redefining the global standard for music royalties, PRS for Music ensures songwriters and composers are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. 

For 110 years it has grown and protected the rights of the music creator community, paying out royalties with more accuracy, transparency and speed. In 2023, PRS for Music paid out £943.6m in royalties and collected a record £1.08 billion in revenues.

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