Live Music's Contribution to the UK economy and tourism

Wish you were here 2016 - Live Music's contribution to the UK economy and tourism

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Today UK Music publishes Wish You Were Here 2016 – An economic study that reveals the vast contribution of live music and music tourism to the UK economy during 2015.

The report features both national and regional figures and for the first time reveals the huge impact of music tourism to twelve UK cities: Norwich, Leicester, Newcastle, Manchester, Belfast, Glasgow, Brighton, Exeter, Cardiff, Coventry, Hull and London. Click here to download the full report.

The report includes an introduction from John Whittingdale MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and will be supported by a launch event at the House of Commons on Wednesday 15th June.

Amongst the findings of Wish You Were Here 2016 were that:

  • A total audience of 27.7 million attended live music events in the UK in 2015
  •  More people are watching live music locally….17.3 million local residents attended music events in their local area in 2015. This was up +14% from 2014.
  • 3.7 million Attended a festival in 2015 in the UK
  • 24 million Attended a concert in 2015 in the UK
  • Music tourism generated £3.7 billion in total direct and indirect spend in the UK last year. This was a +7% increase from last year.
  • There were 10.4 million music tourists in the UK in 2015. This is 38% of the whole live music audience.
  • Overseas music tourism increased by +16% to 767,000 visitors in 2015.
  • There were 39,034 full time jobs in the UK sustained by music tourism in 2015
  • £852 was the average spend by an overseas music tourist visiting in the UK in 2015. This was an increase of +13% from last year
  • Music tourists generated a £549 million box office spend on tickets in 2015. £38 million of which came from tickets bought by overseas music tourists.
  • 8.4 million total live music audience in London in 2015. 3.2 million of which were music tourists.
  • This year we were able to measure the impact of Grassroots Music venues (under 1500 capacity) for the first time. These vital venues were visited by a total audience of 5.6 million audience in 2015.

Music festivals and concerts have been adding to British happiness and wellbeing for decades. Importantly music tourism has been driving wealth into recovering local economies across the whole of the UK. Last year saw a 16% rise in overseas tourists travelling to the UK to attend our music events, each with an average spend of £852 going directly to UK businesses. This increase in music tourism provides a huge boost to employment throughout the country, with 39,034 full time jobs in 2015 sustained by music tourism in the UK.

The report provides detailed evidence of the direct impact that music events and this new influx of fans have within every region of the UK, as well as practical examples of some of the many festivals and venues and companies that are helping to support this booming music tourism industry.


The appetite for live music continues to grow. Last year overseas music tourism increased by 16%, whilst British music events were attended by a staggering 27.7 million people in 2015. What this report shows, unequivocally, is the economic value of live music to communities, cities and regions.

Jo Dipple, UK Music Chief Executive

This is a fantastic achievement and a great testament to both our live music industry and the musical talent it supports. This is no surprise given British artists account for just over one in seven albums purchased by fans around the globe.

John Whittingdale MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport

The future of British music is dependent on emerging talent, both in performance and business. Securing our future depends on the creation of optimum conditions to support young people to become musicians, songwriters, creative technicians and one of the 39,034 jobs in this report. This report must focus policy makers on creating the right conditions for the future of an industry that astounds, entertains and attracts the world.

Andy Heath, Chairman UK Music

For further information on this report / interview requests please contact:

James Murtagh-Hopkins
Director of Communications, UK Music
0203 713 8452 // 07834 335525

Notes to Editors: This study was carried out by Oxford Economics on behalf of UK Music. 2016 is the second edition of the report, which was first published in 2013. Full Methodology is available at #WYWH2016

About UK Music: 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, music licensing organisations and the live music industry. The members of UK Music are: AIM, BASCA, BPI, FAC, MMF, MPA, MPG, MU, PPL, PRS for Music and the Live Music Group.

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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