Skip to main content

Music industry contributed £5.8 billion to UK economy in 2019

The figure was revealed in a UK Music report that also estimates musicians will lose 65% of their income in 2020

UK Music has published its annual 'Music By Numbers' report which looks at the contribution the UK music business makes to the British economy each year.

Revealing that the UK music industry contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019 (up 11% from £5.2 billion in 2018), the report, which only covers the period up to December 31st, 2019, leads with a call for urgent support to help revive “our world-leading music industry” following the “catastrophic blow” that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the sector over the course of 2020.

In addition to the £5.8 billion contribution that the UK music industry made to the British economy in 2019, the report also reveals that employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 197,168 — an increase of 3% from 190,935 in 2018. The total export revenue of the music industry last year, according to the report, was £2.9 billion — up 9% from £2.7 billion in 2018. Music tourism also contributed £4.7 billion in terms of spending.

While reporting these encouraging figures for the UK music industry, the report contains regular reminder that this health will likely be short-lived upon the publishing next year of figures for 2020. UK Music says it will take a "marathon effort" to get the UK music industry back on its feet as we move into 2021 and continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic. 

One of the most stark estimates within the report is that up to 85% of live music revenue has been lost since March, and that 65% of musicians' income will be lost in 2020.

"For these performers, many have seen their income reduce to zero since March," the report says. "Most music creators are self-employed. The industry relies very heavily on freelancers and the self-employed, many of whom have fallen through the cracks during 2020, not qualifying for the support that has been made available."

It continues: "The UK music industry is a commercially successful sector that was growing before the pandemic, and can grow again. Music has always been a British success story and a national asset, that delivers at home and abroad. There is no reason why that cannot continue, but that future depends on us saving the music ecosystem that we have and supporting individual music creators and freelancers especially during this critical period."

Commenting on the report, UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said that the figures for 2019 show “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”. 

He adds: "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."

You can read the full report here.

UK Music's call for urgent support from the government joins a wave of warnings from various UK bodies this year, including from the Musicians' Union earlier this month.

For more on this, read DJ Mag's recent report on how the government's response to COVID-19 could kill live music as we know it.