UK Measuring Music Report: Live Music Stagnates, Recorded Music Soars

Rag N Bone Man performing at the Brit Awards 2018
JM Enternational, Courtesy BRIT Awards Limited/BPI
– Rag N Bone Man performing at the Brit Awards 2018
One of the artists responsible for the UK’s success abroad
Industry body UK Music published its latest Measuring Music report containing 2017 data, showing a nine-percent growth in recorded music and virtually no change in live music revenues.
Live music, ranging from major festivals to intimate concerts in grassroots music venues contributed £991 million to the UK economy in 2017, compared to £1 billion the year before.
UK Music was unable to break the figures down further in response to a Pollstar request.
Thanks to a nine-percent year-on-year surge in recorded music to £700 million, as well as a seven-percent rise in publishing income to £505 million, the UK’s overall music economy still grew.
Compared to 2016, the UK’s music sector gained two percent, and contributed £4.5 billion ($5.7 billion) to the country’s overall economy.
Exports, i.e. revenues generated by British artists and companies outside the UK, grew by seven percent to £2.6 billion. The country’s economy mainly has Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Rag’N’Bone Man, Stormzy, Harry Styles and Depeche Mode to thank for that.
The UK music sector employed 145,815 people last year, which marks a three-percent rise compared to 2016.
Michael Dugher
UK Music
– Michael Dugher
Chief executive of UK Music

UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher welcomed the figures: “I’m really proud of the fact that these figures show once again that when it comes to music, we in the UK are very, very good at what we do,” he said, adding that the UK music economy was growing at a faster rate than other sectors.

He added, “music exports are a particular British success story and organisations like PRS for Music and PPL, that help ensure creators and investors see a return for their work, have also performed particularly strongly in 2017.”
He urged the government to recognize the importance of British music and to back the sector, for instance by investing in education and grassroots music venues. 
“Every child from every background should have the opportunity to access music, to experience its transformative power and to try out a career in the industry if they want to – regardless of whether or not they have access to the Bank of Mum and Dad,” he said.
UK Music chairman Andy Heath added: “We are fortunate that levels of creativity in the music industry are really promising at the moment.
“It is a fantastic time for music-makers and for consumers – both in the variety of music on offer and the different ways that people can choose to listen to music.
According to Heath, the challenges are breaking new talent in the digital age, which is characterized by an abundance of music out there in a crowded marketplace.
“That difficulty is growing and means brilliant creators have to fight harder than ever to get their music heard,” he said.
The UK’s minister for digital and the creative industries, Margot James, said: “2017 was a very successful year globally for the UK music industry. Ed Sheeran’s third album ÷ was the biggest selling album of the year. The O2 in London was officially the most popular live music arena in the world. Five of the top ten most successful worldwide tours were from UK acts. 2018 is proving to be no different.”
The full Measuring Music 2017 report can be seen and downloaded here.