UK music industry's £5.8bn boost to economy before COVID-19 delivered 'catastrophic blow'

Music by Numbers 2020 logo

UK Music unveiled its Music By Numbers 2020 report today as it called for urgent help to revive “our world-leading industry”.

Since 2013, UK Music - the collective voice of the music industry - has published an annual report which reveals the economic contribution of the UK music business to the British economy.

The new figures in the Music By Numbers 2020 report are for the 12 months up to 31 December 2019. They do not reflect the devastating impact of the Covid-19 just weeks later in early 2020.

British talent including Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Dua Lipa, George Ezra and Lewis Capaldi, Mabel and Dave were among the star names that helped the industry continue its growth in 2019.

However, the pandemic and social distancing restrictions meant venues were forced to close as the pause button was pressed on huge swathes of the music industry.

Despite the buoyant 2019 figures outlined in Music By Numbers, the industry now faces a marathon effort to get back on its feet as it strives to return to pre-Covid levels of success as swiftly as possible.


2019 was a fantastic year for the UK music industry, and we were firmly on track to be one of the great British success stories of the coming decade. Music By Numbers 2020 shows just how successful our industry was before the catastrophic blow of COVID-19 knocked it down, and how important it is that we get it back on its feet. When the time comes to recover from this pandemic, our world-leading music industry can be a key part of our country’s post-COvid economic and cultural revival – but we need the right support to get us there.  

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, Chief Executive, UK Music

The key facts in Music By Numbers 2020 include:

  • The UK music industry contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019 - up 11% from £5.2 billion in 2018.
  • Employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 197,168 in 2019 - an increase of 3% from 190,935 in 2018.
  • The total export revenue of the music industry was £2.9 billion in 2019 - up 9% from £2.7 billion in 2018. 
  • In addition to the industry’s direct economic contribution, music tourism alone contributed £4.7 billion in terms of spending to the UK economy in 2019 - up 6% from £4.5 billion in 2018.

The flagship annual economic study by UK Music and its members showed that the music industry continued to grow in 2019 across every sector before the Covid-enforced shutdown hit in early 2020.

The report measures the health of the music business by collating data about its contribution in goods and services to the economy. That economic contribution is known as Gross Value Added (GVA), to the UK’s national income (Gross Domestic Product/GDP). Exports are part of this contribution.


The UK music industry is at the heart of our arts and cultural sector, which is the envy of the world. It is a key national asset and something that should make us all proud. Music enriches all of our lives, but it also makes a huge contribution to our economy. British stars helped drive exports up to £2.9 billion in 2019 - a 9% increase and a fantastic overseas calling card for Britain. Behind every artist, band and orchestra is an army of talented professionals who play their part in the industry’s ecosystem. However, we know what an immensely tough year 2020 has been for the music industry as a result of Covid-19 which has presented significant challenges for the sector. That is why the Government stepped in with an unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the sector weather the impact of coronavirus and protect music venues, festivals, and our vital cultural assets.

Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture


Our music industry is a key national asset. As this report shows, it contributes £5.8 billion a year to the economy, generates £2.9 billion in exports, and supports almost 200,000 jobs. It boosts Britain’s standing in the world, bringing a soft power that few other industries can boast. This report shows just how valuable our music industry is – and how important it is that we take action to protect it. The UK music industry was a vibrant, fast-growing and commercially successful sector before the pandemic hit, and with the right support it can be again.I am convinced we have the people, the drive and determination to fire up our industry once more and become a key part of our country’s post-Covid-19 economic and cultural revival.

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, Chief Executive, UK Music

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, The Ivors Academy, BPI, FAC, MMF, MPA, MPG, MU, PPL, PRS for Music and the Live Music Group.

switching account

Switching your account...