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Live shrinks slightly in 2017 as UK music biz grows £100m

The gross value added to the UK economy by the music industry grew 2% last year, driven largely by recorded music and publishing, reveals the Measuring Music 2018 report

By Jon Chapple on 01 Nov 2018

The O2 in London is the world's most popular entertainment venue

The O2 in London is the world's most popular entertainment venue

image © Rajiv Bhuttan

The British live music industry had a solid, if unspectacular, 2017 – contracting slightly from the record high of £1 billion gross value added (GVA) seen in 2016 to deliver an economic boost worth £991 million last year, according to the latest UK Music Measuring Music report.

Measuring Music 2018, published today (1 November), shows the UK music industry as a whole, however, grew by 2% – or £100m – in 2017, to contribute a record £4.5bn to the economy, driven by big rises in recorded music and publishing revenues.

GVA – the financial contribution in goods and services to the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) – grew 9% in the recorded music sector, reaching £700m, while publishing GVA increased 7% to £505m.

After reaching a headline-grabbing £1bn in Measuring Music 2017, live music’s GVA fell by £9m last year, although it is still significantly up on 2015’s £904m and 2014’s £924m. Export revenues from live, meanwhile, were £80m.

Measuring Music 2018, music GVA 2017

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the umbrella body, says he welcomes the figures but remains concerned about nurturing the UK music industry’s talent pipeline. “British music brings enjoyment to millions and makes a massive contribution to the UK plc,” comments Dugher. “I’m really proud of the fact that these figures show once again that when it comes to music, we in the UK are very, very good at what we do.

“We are a global leader in music and we continue to grow faster than other parts of the British economy and to punch well above our weight. […] These figures show what can be achieved when we choose to back the British music industry.

“Every child from every background should have the opportunity to access music, to experience its transformative power and to try out a career in the industry if they want to – regardless of whether or not they have access to the bank of mum and dad.

“That’s why we need further government support to help us ensure we produce the next generation of world-leading British talent by backing music in education, protecting grassroots music venues and making sure that creators are properly rewarded for their work. If we do that, we can be even more successful in the future.”

“When it comes to music, we in the UK are very, very good at what we do”

Adds the minister for digital and the creative industries, Margot James: “The report demonstrates continued sustained growth, with the music industry now contributing £4.5 billion to the economy. Exports have risen to £2.6 billion and the sector employs 145,815 people.

“Twenty-seventeen was a very successful year globally for the UK music industry. Ed Sheeran’s third album, ÷, was the biggest selling album of the year. The O2 in London was officially the most popular live music arena in the world. Five of the top ten most successful worldwide tours were from UK acts. [This year] is proving to be no different.

“We need to build on these achievements, and as the minister responsible for the creative industries I am firmly committed to doing just that.”

Of those 145,815 jobs, 28,659 are in live, making the concert sector the second-largest music employer, behind musicians themselves (91,153) but ahead of production (13,029), recorded (9,642) and publishing (1,049).


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