Call for urgent action to save music industry

Dr Matt Grimes

A leading music industry expert from BCU has called for the Government and music industry to work together to fight the twin threats of Covid-19 and Brexit, following the release of figures showing strong growth for the sector before the pandemic hit.

Dr Matt Grimes, course leader for BA (Hons) Music Industries and a member of UK Music’s Music Academic Partnership (MAP), warned that the UK’s music industries were now facing “the biggest existentialist crisis in history" and that year-on-year growth recorded in this year’s Music By Numbers report was likely to be significantly damaged by both the pandemic and new legislation following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Music By Numbers is the flagship annual economic study by UK Music and its members, and it showed that the UK music industry continued to grow across every sector during 2019 – but these figures do not reflect the devastating impact of Covid-19 just weeks later in early 2020.

The key facts in Music By Numbers 2020 include:

  • The UK music industry contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019 – up 11% from £5.2 billion in 2018.
  • Employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 197,168 in 2019 – an increase of 3% from 190,935 in 2018.
  • The total export revenue of the music industry was £2.9 billion in 2019 – up 9% from £2.7 billion in 2018.
  • 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.

Dr Grimes said government action should include a simplified system to enable the continuation of reciprocal artistic exchange between the UK and EU, a post-Brexit copyright framework, international trade support that further develops the UK music industries, sector-specific tax incentives, and investment in music education.

He said: “Among the headlines from UK Music’s latest report is a stark reminder of the music industries’ importance.

“The music industry is critical to the UK’s post Covid-19 recovery. It may well have to mutate to survive and new models of music production, distribution and consumption may well emerge from a post Covid-19 music industries. Models we hope will be able to sustain and grow what is a key national asset.”

Read the Music By Numbers report

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