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Live music scene worth £1bn to UK economy for the first time, industry report says

Stormzy headlines the Pyramid Stage on day three of Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 28, 2019 in Glastonbury, England. Photo: Getty Images

Britian’s live music sector is now worth a whopping £1bn to the UK economy, the latest industry report has revealed.

Music contributed £5.2bn to the UK economy in 2018, while live music broke the £1bn barrier for the first time, the Music by Numbers report by UK Music shows.

The music industry also generated a whopping £2.7bn in total export revenue, and provided 190,935 full-time jobs last year, with employees working “in a variety of roles”, according to the report.

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The growth came “despite the various challenges the music industry faces” right now, such as concerns about Brexit, rising business rates and “the issues of enforcing copyright in an increasing complex online market, where platforms are often incentivised to avoid fairly rewarding creators”, the report’s authors said.

Music creators – musicians, singers, composers, songwriters and lyricists, producers and engineers – account for almost half the UK music industry’s contribution to the economy, at £2.5bn.

However, these figures “do not reflect the financial struggles of many music creators”, the report shows.

The UK music industry contributed more than £5bn to the nation's economy last year, according to a report.

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While small proportion of creators in the industry do earn “exceptionally well”, Office for National Statistics data shows musicians earned an average income of £23,059 in 2018 – well below the national average of £29,832.

The research also found that more artists are self-releasing, self-managing and self-publishing. This can put pressure on these individuals and leave them at risk when developing their careers, UK Music warned.

Recordings contributed £478m, and music publishers contributed £618m to the total export revenue of £2.7bn.

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Meanwhile, in the music retail sector, music instrument sales – which often go overlooked when examining retail in the music industry, the report’s authors said – contributed a substantial £402m to the UK economy. Buying instruments is a major outlay for music creators.

Vinyl continued its resurgence, with sales up 1.5% on the previous year. According to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), this is partly due to the ongoing popularity of Record Store Day and National Album Day.

And streaming services continues to grow. BPI data shows there were 90 billion streams in the UK in 2018 – an increase of a third on the previous year.