UK music sector shows rapid growth

The UK’s music industry is making itself heard, as a new report shows its importance to the country’s economy. Figures released by UK Music state that the music sector has grown at five per cent year on year – far faster than the rest of the economy – and is now worth GBP4.1b (€5.7b) a year.

Music exports grew by 17 per cent, while live performance revenues increased by the same amount. One in seven albums sold worldwide was produced by a UK artist in 2014, with the UK only rivalled by the US.

Commenting on the figures, UK Music chief executive Jo Dipple said: ‘The UK’s cultural footprint and soft power were driven by the global success of artists like Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Pink Floyd, Ellie Goulding, One Direction and Calvin Harris.’

The industry also posted impressive job figures. 117,000 people are employed in the sector, with over 50 per cent in creative jobs. Musicians, composers, songwriters and lyricists alone contributed £1.9bn to the economy.

However, the news was not all rosy. In her forward Dipple pointed out that although the industry as a whole is healthy, many people within it have little financial security. 35 per cent of musicians do not have any pension provisions, and 21 per cent have undertaken free work during 2014 in the hope of furthering their career.

The report – titled Measuring Music – is now in its third year, and is the primary publication of UK Music. Founded in 2008, UK Music promotes and lobbies on behalf of the UK music sector. Its members include the British Phonographic Industry, PRS for Music, Musicians Union and Music Publishers Association.