UK Music reveals unrealised potential of music heritage tourism

UK Music launches IMAGINE, a report which looks at the unrealised potential of music heritage tourism in the UK.

Millions of music tourists make pop pilgrimages to museums, take tours and visit the homes of the UK’s most loved bands every year. UK Music’s report examines how music tourists translate pop into pounds.

Liverpool has been a standard bearer with The Beatles Story and The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour. Each year The Beatles and their music heritage generate £70million to Liverpool’s local economy.

IMAGINE explores how other cities in the UK have harnessed their own unique musical heritage to tourism policy,

  • Hull which like Liverpool will become the City of Culture in 2017 boasts the only museum dedicated to night clubbing and is home to David Bowie’s backing band, the Spiders from Mars.  In 2013 their Museum of Club Culture, hosted a temporary exhibition celebrating David Bowie’s most famous stage-persona Ziggy, drawing 30,000 visitors to the City, all of whom added to Hull’s economy.
  •  After hearing of Japanese tourists in Coventry, asking “where is the 2-Tone?” Pete Chambers, curator of the Coventry Music Museum, "realised that the music I loved was, in fact, a global brand, and that Coventry should be doing more to promote this". The museum recently welcomed its 1,000th paying visitor who travel to Coventry for its music heritage from Japan, Australia, Malaysia and the USA.
  • We consider that Sheffield might do more to capitalise on Jarvis Cocker and the Arctic Monkeys.  Uncommon People, a popular and successful online guide to Sheffield’s bands, artists and musicians could be replicated across the UK. 

If Liverpool and The Beatles were replicated across every city in the UK there would be an additional £4bn generated for UK GDP.  IMAGINE we all had The Beatles in our home towns. IMAGINE what you could do with the music heritage you have in yours.


Music tourism is big business, with millions of pounds spent getting closer to the music we love.

Our recommendations in IMAGINE are designed to help local and central Government provide a framework for a vibrant music destination economy.  We want to inspire local authorities to make the most of the music heritage on their doorstep.

Liverpool has harnessed the potential of its musical heroes and is seeing huge economic and cultural benefits.

But the story shouldn’t end there. Cities across the UK have strong music histories and could create a new economy by exploiting their own music heritage.

Jo Dipple, UK Music CEO

Hull's music heritage is rich and UK Music has shown how such heritage can drive tourism and also help create an ecosystem favourable to the music industry. I'm delighted that Hull will be the City of Culture in 2017 and hope that our music heritage plays a full part in that.

Alan Johnson, Hull MP and former Cabinet minister

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, Creative Industries Minister

Download a PDF version of the report

UK Music is the umbrella organisation which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry - from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to record labels, music managers, music publishers, studio producers and music licensing organisations. The members of UK Music are: AIM, BASCA, BPI, MMF, MPA, MPG, MU, PPL and PRS for Music

For press enquiries:

Dorothy Levine, Head of Campaigns and Communications

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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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