Economic contribution of UK Music in 2019

Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the UK music industry contributed £5.8bn to the UK economy in 2019, according to the Music By Numbers study published by UK Music.

Employment in the UK music industry was a record 197,168 at the end of 2019.

The total export revenue of the music industry was £2.9bn, up from £2.7bn in the previous year.

In addition to the industry’s direct economic contribution, music tourism alone contributed £4.7 billion in terms of spending to the UK economy in 2019 - up 6% from £4.5 billion in 2018.

Industry leaders have warned that the closure of music venues and the impact of social distancing restrictions on the music industry has been catastrophic, and the industry will need support to get back on its growth course.

Source: Music By Numbers, UK Music
Published: November 2020



Overseas visitors to UK shows and festivals rose 10 per cent from 810,000 to 888,000 in 2018.

Although Glastonbury Festival did not take place in 2018, when this data was collected, a rise in other festivals across the UK, particularly such as TRNSMT and Sunday Sessions in Scotland, boosted the numbers.

Employment in the live music sector rose 7 per cent to 30,529 in 2018.

Source: Music by Numbers, UK Music
Published: November 2019

UK Music Consumption

According to a release by the BPI, the music labels' association, based on Official Charts Company data, 142.9 million albums or their equivalent were either streamed, purchased or downloaded in the UK during 2018.  These sales had an estimated retail value of £1.33bn.

This represents a 5.7 per cent rise on 2017 and marks a fourth year of consecutive volume growth. Some 91 billion audio streams were served – including 2bn streams in a single week for the first time.  Audio streaming accounted for nearly two thirds of all UK music consumption during the year.

It is expected that over 100bn audio streams will be served in the UK during 2019. Since 2014, combined UK sales and streams have grown by 22 per cent.

George Ezra's 'Staying at Tamara's' was the biggest-selling album released during 2018, though the soundtrack to 'The Greatest Showman' was the biggest overall seller.

The year included successful releases from Dua Lipa, Arctic Monkeys, Rag'n'Bone Man, Jess Glynne, and Rod Stewart.

There were also 4.2m sales of vinyl LPs, a rise of 1.6 per cent, marking the 11th consecutive year of growth for vinyl.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said there was another strong performance from the British recorded music business in 2018, with new talent also being nurtured through initiatives such as the BRITS 2019 Critics' Choice award. However, he added that a hard Brexit could endanger future growth.

Sources:  BPI release
Published: January 2019


Govt Data on Music sector 

The official Government statisticians count music within the broader category of 'music, performing and the visual arts'. 

Under this heading, the category's GVA was £9.54bn in 2017, having grown by 68.6 per cent between 2010 and 2017.

According to the official data, in 2018 there were an estimated 296,000 people working in the category. This represents a rise of 39 per cent between 2011 and 2018.

Exports were measured at £1.06bn for services and £4.3bn for goods for 2017.

Source: DCMS Sectors Economic Estimates, various, 2018-2019.
Published: September 2019



The UK music market has overtaken that of Germany to become Europe's largest music market by revenues. 

The combination of revenues from digital and physical music formats, performance rights and synchronisation (from the use of music in advertising, TV, film and games) grew by 3.1 per cent in 2018 during 2018, compared to a decline of 9.9 per cent in Germany and a flat market in Europe as a whole.

Among UK music artists, George Ezra has been one of the biggest breakout stars in the last five years, with his debut album going into the top 10 in multiple countries and its follow-up, 'Staying at Tamara's', the biggest selling UK album of 2018.  

Source: Global Music Report 2019
Published: April 2019

UK Music revenues

UK record company trade income - revenues generated by sales and streams across all format and from syncs - rose 10.6 per cent to £839.5m in 2017, according to the BPI's 2018 yearbook.

The figures represent the highest rate of growth for the sector since 1995, and the increase was driven by 9.5 per cent growth in music consumption during 2017. This growth was due increases in streaming, where revenues rose by 41.1 per cent, and by the resurgence of vinyl sales (one in every 15 album purchases in the UK during 2017 was on a vinyl format).

Eight of the top 10 selling artist albums in the UK during 2017 were by UK acts, and UK artists topped the singles table (the UK was second to the US in the singles table of 2016).

Source: All About the Music 2018, BPI
Published: April 2018.