by Jonathan Todd, UK Music economic advisor
I am leading a study for UK Music on the contribution of the industry to GDP, exports and jobs.
The first task in such research is always defining exactly what is being measured.
The music industry is unhappy with how the government defines it. One major problem is that it is grouped with the performing arts in the standard industrial classification (SIC) codes.
As such, UK Music is working on an alternative definition of the industry, which will be feeding into the consultation launched by Culture Secretary Maria Miller’s department last week on classifying and measuring the creative industries.
In 2011, the think tank Demos identified the creative industries as being among those with the greatest potential for growth. However, in the same report, Risky Business, they bemoaned the way in which the SIC codes neglects these industries, leading to a lack of reliable information and effective policy for the sector.
These codes were devised for an industrial economy—they are increasingly unhelpful as we move towards a post-industrial economy. Revisions occur at a glacial pace, lagging way behind changes in the real world.
Nothing has improved since Demos published their report almost 18 months ago. “When times are tough and money is tight, our focus must be on culture’s economic impact,” stated Maria Miller this morning. If the arts are going to have the economic impact that Miller wants, she needs to ensure that they are classified correctly.