UK live industry grew 17% in year before Covid
The worth of the UK’s live music industry increased by 17% in 2019, according to UK Music’s flagship annual economic study.
The Music By Numbers 2020 report says that the live sector enjoyed its most successful year to date in 2019 and that 2020 was “shaping up to be even stronger” but due to the pandemic is now in “urgent need of a lifeline”.
According to the recently published UK live music: At a cliff edge report, the live sector contributed £4.5 bn to the UK economy in 2019 but its revenue has dropped to almost zero this year due to the pandemic.
“The Music By Numbers report shows that pre-Covid-19 the live music industry was growing rapidly, up 17% in 2019 and delivering increasing value to UK plc. The pandemic literally stopped the show. Targeted help is needed to support our proudly entrepreneurial sector through this economic uncertainty and return it back to growth,” says Phil Bowdery, chair of the Concert Promoters Association (CPA).
UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin says: “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.”
“The pandemic literally stopped the show. Targeted help is needed to support our proudly entrepreneurial sector”
In the report, UK Music says the live sector’s increase in worth was partly due to a high number of stadium tours and “a consistently strong performance across the sector,” along with data collection improvements among grassroots venues.
The report nods to 2019 stadium shows from international artists such as Bon Jovi and The Eagles alongside domestic superstars such as the Spice Girls and Take That.
Major touring artists contribute massively to the live sector’s GVA and supports festivals and enables promoters to reinvest in
However, this year, social distancing has prevented most events from taking place – operationally and economically – while travel restrictions have made touring impossible for both UK and international artists.
The Music By Numbers 2020 report concludes by noting that the government-backed Culture Recovery Fund was welcome but says “more support is needed so that the industry can get through this period with as many organisations and companies surviving as possible”.
The report calls for five specific actions to restart the live music at the earliest opportunity including an extension of the VAT rate reduction on tickets beyond 31 March 2021; government backing for a live music events reinsurance scheme; an extension of business rate relief for venues for 2021/22 financial year and removal of festival sites on agricultural land from the business rates system.
It also calls for 2020 local authority license fees for festivals to be rolled over to 2021 and for the continuation of joint industry/government work to establish clear protocols with health agencies regarding testing and live events.
Read the full Music By Numbers 2020 report here.
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