A new report shows that the music industry is delivering a £4 billion export boost to the UK economy

Pooja Sharma
7 Min Read

The key statistics in UK Music’s This Is Music 2023 report, published today, are:

  • British music exports will generate £4 billion by 2022.
  • The music industry’s contribution to the UK economy was £6.7 billion (gross gross value added) in 2022.
  • Total employment in the UK music industry was 210,000 in 2022.

UK Music – the collective voice of the music industry – has released its annual economic report, This Is Music 2023, outlining the huge economic contribution the UK music industry makes to the economy.

The report shows that UK music export revenues reached £4 billion in 2022 – a figure supported by the growth of the recording and music publishing industries, as well as the return of international touring.

The UK music industry also contributed £6.7 billion to the UK economy in gross value added (GVA) in 2022 and total employment in the music industry was 210,000. For definitions of gross added value, export and employment, see the editor’s explanation.

Changes in the way UK Music collects music sector data means it is not possible to make direct comparisons with previous years this year.

In addition to economic data on the music industry, This Is Music 2023 provides analysis of 2022, emerging trends in 2023 and case studies – including one from the manager of Glass Animals.

UK Music Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl said:

“The UK music industry and its exports have undoubtedly grown and reached new heights, which is fantastic news in terms of our sector’s contribution to jobs and the economy.

“However, competition for international markets is rapidly intensifying. British competitors are increasingly well funded and can often count on much more support from their governments.

“South Korea, Australia and Canada have invested heavily in music and culture export offices to help grow their overseas markets.

“The UK has several successful export programmes, such as the Music Export Growth Scheme and the International Showcase Fund.

“However, we need much more support – otherwise we risk Britain falling behind in the global music race and that would be a bitter blow to the music industry and a missed opportunity to grow our export market.”

Culture Minister Lucy Frazer MP said:

“Every gig, stream and studio session in 2022 played a part in what has been a huge year for the UK music industry – adding billions to our economy and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs over the past year.

“We want to maintain the momentum by maximizing the potential of this world-conquering industry. We are investing millions to boost music venues, help artists conquer foreign markets and support the talent pipeline, while also working with the industry to address the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence.”

Export Secretary Lord Offord said:

“British artists have a global reputation for creating, writing and producing great music, so it’s fantastic news that UK music export earnings reached £4 billion last year.

“We support the UK music industry to thrive and help deliver trade missions to markets such as the US, Japan and India. We are also tripling funding for the Music Export Growth Scheme to ensure the next generation of British artists and SMEs can continue to champion British music abroad.”

Exports were helped by sales and streams from British artists outside the United Kingdom, performances of British copyrighted compositions and master recordings, songwriting, music publishing and live shows from British artists abroad.

First released in 2020, Glass Animals’ song Heat Waves became a slow hit, spending five weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2022. Harry Styles produced a string of global hits with his third solo album Harry’s House, including writing credits for British writer Thomas Hull (aka Kid Harpoon).

According to the BPI, a member of UK Music, the growth of British music exports in new markets in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America could put the UK on track for music exports of £1 billion a year in 2030. The BPI has reported that UK music exports Music exports rose in value by more than £100 million year-on-year in 2022, reaching a new high of £709 million.

IFPI, which represents the global recording industry, found that the global recorded music market grew 9% in 2022. However, that growth was mainly driven by emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

UK Music’s Manifesto for Music, published in September 2023, called for greater government support for music export schemes, highlighted the need to remove barriers faced by musicians and crew touring the EU, and called for a music export office, to ensure ensure that Britain maintains its leading global position.

UK Music released the new figures in its This Is Music 2023 report to mark International Trade Week, which runs from November 6 to 10.

On Tuesday 7 November, the Department for Business and Trade will be hosting an event entitled The Future Global Music Economy, in partnership with UK Music, LIVE, BPI and PRS Foundation.

As part of this, UK Music will host a panel called Global Music Outlook PRS for music Chief Executive Andrea Czapary Martin, PPL CEO Peter Leathem and MMF Vice Chairman Kwame Kwaten.

The members of UK Music are: AIM, BPI, FAC, The Ivors Academy, MMF, MPA, MPG, MU, PPL, PRS for music.

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