Fiscal Events, the State of the Industry and Networking in Brum

We’re bringing you the second part of our round-up of 2022. 

Just in case you’d forgotten this is a whistle-stop tour through the activities of the MIA over the last 12 months, the external factors that have been impacting the sector, and some of the things member companies have been getting up to. 


During the summer, it was all about checking the pulse of MI, and gathering up to the minute data on the state of the industry. We managed to convince more of you than ever before to complete a fairly thorough 10 minute survey covering topics such as inventory levels, sales trends, the cost of doing business and personnel.

We took a dive into the Post-COVID consumer, and talked you through some research that had been done by Google on the shopping trends that they had identified from analysing particular search engine returns. In the face of increased uncertainty due to factors such as rising costs, lower disposable income and concerns about the effects of global events – how had the retail consumer adapted their behaviour?

We know you like to get together in person, we know you like to discuss all the hot topics shaping our industry, we know you like interactive sessions and workshops and we know you like to eat, drink and catch up. By this point we’d thrown ourselves into planning a day full of all the things you like, at a really funky venue in the heart of Birmingham. In August, we announced that we’d be getting together on Wednesday 19th October 2022 for the MIA Forum, and you all started to reserve your places.

Music for All’s flagship event Learn to Play would be taking place on 8th & 9th October. We gave you 5 reasons to get involved and told you more about the benefits it could bring to your business.

The NAMM Global Report was launched. This report can be used to discern industry trends and spot new opportunities that could very well prove to be critical as you shape the vision for your company and make important decisions.The 2022 Report reveals retail sales figures, unit sales information, analysis, and import/export numbers for musical instruments and products. Statistics are compiled from independent sources from around the world.

Our General Manager, Alice, delved into some figures around the state of diversity and inclusion in UK Retail. One of Alice’s and the MIA’s aims is to bring practical ways to improve D&I practice in the MI industry, and there’ll be more on that in 2023.

The fiscal announcement made by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng appeared to be the biggest package of tax cuts for the last 50 years, as part of his plan for Economic Growth. We picked out five talking points from the statement to gauge the possible benefit. Also, Ofgem announced that energy costs would be rising by 80% for the average household from October. Whilst this is in itself a massive rise, there was huge concern that business would be hit even harder. We wrote a letter to both of the prospective Conservative leaders at the time (Truss & Sunak) to express our concern.

We were pleased to share with our members 100 years of the British Music Store – a directory of British physical bricks & mortar retail music stores, set against a historical context of those that were around 100 or more years ago.

In member news… Roland announced the opening of a brand-new store—a cutting-edge music showroom in the heart of London’s iconic Denmark Street. PMT announced their plans to turn their retail stores into ‘Experience Centres’, accompanied by a rebranding, driven by the slogan ‘Play Music Today.’ Novation celebrated 30 years of synths, MIDI controllers, grooveboxes and more that have helped people create, play and perform at all stages of their music-making journey.

We convened in the vibrant streets of Digbeth for this year’s MI Forum ‘What Happens Next’. We covered everything from trading through a Cost of Living crisis & maximising sales through Needs Based Training to presenting a Competition Law Masterclass & a keynote speech on developing a brand that is ‘lovely’. It was great to see so many people attend, particularly from such a cross-section of the industry.

It was a major first of its kind for both the MIA and the UK MI sector when we published our State of the Industry Report for 2022. the response rate was about the best the MIA has had in recent memory. The report provides insights, context and commentary on Product Sales, Commercial Confidence, Growth Expectations and much much more.

Greening Music Tech was launched – an initiative to help companies in the Music Technology sector reduce their CO2e emissions and run more environmentally sustainable businesses. The MIA sits on the Steering Group and is a founding member of this important coalition.

We contextualised various bits of news from Government and told you what it means for the MI industry. For example; Following COP19, it was decided that Pernambuco wood, used for some violin bows, was granted an exemption from CITES regulations. A whole heap of measures were announced as part of the Autumn Statement, aimed at some of the challenges (and opportunities) that businesses will be faced with over the remaining period of this government. Stephen Wick, Chairman of Denis Wick and MIA Board member, brought us up-to-date with proposed new legislation which could negatively impact the making of brass instruments. The Government also confirmed that businesses will have an extra year to start using the new product safety marking – the UKCA marking.

We were really pleased to announce a new and bespoke sales training package for the MI sector. We’ve developed a cost effective, accessible, and impactful training tool that will be available to both members and non-members get every pound in the till.

We were made aware of a fundamental shift in the go-to-market approach from Sage, the popular and widely used Accounting Platform. So we got down in the weeds to understand how the software giant is refining its sales model and how that might impact small businesses.

It goes without saying that these are challenging times for everyone and, like your customers, staff are feeling the pain of the current financial crisis. It can be hard to know how best to support them, so our General Manager Alice brought you a blog piece on Supporting Staff through the Cost of Living Crisis.

The MIA’s Membership with the British Retail Consortium gives us access to an expanded portfolio of unbiased research and analysis to share with our members. So every month, we provide key macroeconomic data from the UK economy, including inflation figures, footfall levels, sales growth and more.

In member news… Hal Leonard Europe was proud to be the headline sponsor of the Youth Music Awards. Faith Guitars released the 20th Anniversary ‘THE TWENTY’ Legacy series guitars. The Brighton Institution that is GAK (Guitar, Amp and Keyboard Centre) is celebrating its 30th birthday this year and, to mark the occasion, they’ve got several new, exciting initiatives they’ll be delivering to the music loving community over the coming months.

Wow, what a year. Firstly, we’d like to thank our members for their support, engagement and feedback this year. In 2022, we worked with more businesses, held more virtual and in-person events and launched more initiatives than EVER before. And we’re looking forward to smashing our record in 2023.

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