The multibillion-pound UK music business stays virtually a 3rd smaller than earlier than the pandemic as rampant inflation, hovering prices and Brexit crimson tape threaten to derail its fragile restoration, a report warns.
UK Music, the umbrella physique representing the business from artists and document labels to stay efficiency, is asking for a package deal of help together with tax reduction, a VAT lower for struggling venues and a streamlining of restrictions affecting staff and touring between Europe and the UK.
The organisation’s annual Music by Numbers report, which spans subjects together with music gross sales and licensing, stadium excursions, gigs in grassroots venues and merchandise, discovered the business’s contribution to the UK economic system rose 26% year-on-year to £4bn in 2021. Nonetheless, this stays 31% down on the document £5.8bn in 2019.
Whereas music streaming boomed and gross sales of CDs and vinyl surged in pandemic circumstances, the stay music business, which employs tens of hundreds of musicians, songwriters, producers and venue house owners, was badly hit and continues to face a “fragile and precarious” restoration.
Main occasions together with Glastonbury and BST Hyde Park have been cancelled final 12 months, whereas music venues have been capable of open for simply 4 months, limiting the return of staff and artists.
In 2020 greater than a 3rd of UK music business staff, 69,000 in whole, misplaced their jobs. Their numbers rose 14% to 145,000 final 12 months, nevertheless this stays 26% fewer than the 197,000 employed in 2019.
“Our workforce has been demoralised and decimated,” stated Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music’s chief government. “The truth that tens of hundreds of them have nonetheless not returned ought to fear policymakers and the general public alike. Our sector nonetheless faces a severe menace from the financial storm that might blow our fragile restoration off target with out pressing authorities help.”
UK Music is asking for help together with an extension of the vastly profitable tax reduction programmes that the movie, TV and gaming industries get pleasure from, a VAT lower to five% to assist struggling venues and scrapping crimson tape that makes it tough to carry staff in from Europe and considerably extra expensive for acts to tour within the EU.
The restoration is being hammered by hovering prices for venues and musicians, by some estimates up 35% in contrast with 2019, together with highway crews, catering, safety, transportation and extra not too long ago gas and power prices.
“The business has been hit by rocketing prices proper throughout the availability chain, and except venues, studios and different music companies get the assistance they want, there’s a severe danger that they could possibly be pressured to shut their doorways for good,” says UK Music.
British music exports, which embrace document gross sales and streams, stay reveals by British artists and merchandise gross sales, grew 10% to £2.5bn. Nonetheless, that is nonetheless nicely under the £2.9bn in pre-pandemic 2019.
The UK is the second largest exporter of recorded music on this planet after the US, with Adele, Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa releasing three of the highest six bestselling albums of 2021.
“The UK music business is working arduous to get well after the catastrophic affect of Covid, however there’s nonetheless some solution to go to revive the roles and progress misplaced in the course of the pandemic,” stated Njoku-Goodwin.