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This Is Music: State of Play of Music Exports

08.12.2023: UK Music's Director of Research Andy Edwards discusses music export growth, but warns UK could be outrun by faster growing international markets if action isn't taken. 

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08.12.2023: UK Music’s Director of Research Andy Edwards discusses music export growth 2022, but warns UK could be outrun by faster growing international markets if action isn’t taken. 

We revealed in our annual economic report, This Is Music, that exports hit £4 billion in 2022.

Live music and international touring returned in full following the pandemic. Domestic concerts and festivals saw foreign music tourists returning in large numbers, and British-based music creators could tour overseas again, with many acts having rescheduled tours from 2020 and 2021.

This boosted public performance income, as well as income for music representatives such as managers, accountants and lawyers.

Recorded music and music publishing exports had grown consistently throughout the pandemic and these continued to grow last year, adding to the 2022 export numbers.

The continuing development of subscription streaming services, advertising-supported services, and audio-visual platforms in markets across the globe has aided this growth.

The growth in overseas markets is boosting the UK music industry’s export figures, and, in 2022, an additional factor was the weaker pound against the Euro and US Dollar, which has given a short-term boost to exports.

The International Showcase Fund and the Music Export Growth Scheme have established a long track
record in boosting British music exports and the international careers of British music creators.  These schemes demonstrate proof of concept: smart government intervention combined with industry know how produces results.

However, longer-term threats are apparent. Competition for international markets is intensifying, and the UK’s competitors are increasingly well organised and funded. South Korea, Australia, and Canada have all invested heavily in music and cultural export offices, and more details about this can be read in UK Music’s Manifesto For Music.

The UK has some successful export schemes, but these are not as generous as international competitors’ schemes, nor do they, in themselves, represent an export strategy.

The UK must not get left behind.

Read UK Music’s This Is Music report for more information on the state of the music industry in 2022.

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