Music Industry Delivers £4bn Exports Boost To UK Economy

UK Music has released its annual economic report, This Is Music 2023, which outlines the huge economic contribution the UK music industry makes to the economy. Here’s the headlines from the report for a quick read; it’s well worth reading the full report when you have the chance.

The headline statistics in UK Music’s This is Music 2023 report released are:

  • UK music exports generated £4 billion in 2022.
  • Music industry’s contribution to UK economy was £6.7 billion (GVA) in 2022.
  • Total UK music industry employment was 210,000 in 2022.

The report reveals UK music export revenue in 2022 was £4 billion – a figure aided by growth in recording and music publishing, as well as the return of international touring.

The UK music industry also contributed £6.7 billion to the UK economy in 2022 in gross value added (GVA) and total employment in the music industry was 210,000.

Changes in the way UK Music collates data from the music sector mean that it is not possible this year to make direct comparisons with previous years.

As well as economic data on the music industry, This Is Music 2023 offers an analysis of 2022, emerging trends in 2023, and case studies – including one from Glass Animals’ manager.

UK Music Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl said:

“The UK music industry and its exports have grown beyond doubt to hit new heights, which is fantastic news in terms of our sector’s contribution to jobs and the economy.

“However, the competition for international markets is intensifying rapidly. The UK’s competitors are increasingly well funded and can often count on far more support from their governments.

“South Korea, Australia and Canada have invested heavily in music and cultural export offices to help grow their overseas markets.

“The UK has several successful export schemes, such as the Music Export Growth Scheme and the International Showcase Fund.

“However, we need far more support – otherwise we risk the UK being left behind in the global music race and that would be a bitter blow for music industry and a missed opportunity to grow our export market.”

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer MP said:

 “Every gig, stream and studio session in 2022 played their part in this stellar year for the UK’s music industry – adding billions to our economy in the last year and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“We want to keep up the momentum by maximising the potential of this world-beating industry. We are investing millions to boost music venues, helping artists crack overseas markets and supporting the talent pipeline, while also working with the sector to tackle the challenges and opportunities posed by artificial intelligence.”

Minister for Exports Lord Offord said:

“British artists have a global reputation for creating, writing and producing amazing music, so it is fantastic news that UK music export revenue reached £4 billion last year.

“We are backing the UK music industry to thrive, helping deliver trade missions to markets like the US, Japan and India. We are also tripling funding for the Music Export Growth Scheme to ensure the next generation of UK artists and SMEs can continue to champion British music abroad.”

Exports were aided by sales and streams by British artists outside the UK, performance of UK copyrighted compositions and master recordings, songwriting, music publishing and live shows by UK artists overseas.

Glass Animals’ track Heat Waves, first released in 2020, became a slow-burn hit, leading to it spending five weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2022. Harry Styles produced a series of global hits with his third solo album Harry’s House, which included writing credits for British writer Thomas Hull (aka Kid Harpoon).

According to the BPI, a UK Music member, UK music export growth in new markets in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America could put the UK on track for music exports of £1 billion a year by 2030. The BPI has reported British recorded music exports rose in value by more than £100 million year-on-year in 2022 to a new high of £709 million.

IFPI, which represents the global recording industry, found the global recorded music market grew by 9% in 2022. However, that growth was driven primarily by emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

UK Music’s Manifesto for Music, published in September 2023, called for more Government support for music exports schemes, highlighted the need to remove barriers facing musicians and crew touring the EU, and called for a music export office, in order to ensure the UK maintained its leading global position.

We (the MIA) encourage you to put aside 10 minutes with a brew to peruse the report and, at some point the Manifesto, to help identify where there are opportunities to build and enhance mutually beneficial relationships between your business and the creative end of the industry. 

We’re interested to know any thoughts you have about this, and any suggestions for how we can play our part as your trade association, so please contact Matt if you have anything to bring to the conversation.

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