UK music is internationally renowned, with a long heritage of success across the globe, from The Beatles to Dua Lipa. Whether its touring, recorded music or merchandise sales, radio airplay or publishing licensing income, UK music has a fantastic track record of being a successfully exported product
Our musicians play in the world’s best orchestras, our opera singers tread the boards of famous stages, our producers, sound engineers, songwriters, managers and stage crew are in demand all over the world.
The UK is the largest exporter of music in the world after the USA; around 1 in 10 of all tracks streamed globally are by a British artist.
In 2020, before the pandemic hit the UK’s total export revenue of the music industry was £2.9 billion in 2019 – up 9% from £2.7 billion in 2018 – compared to a 0.7% growth in exports across the economy as a whole.
Even during the pandemic in 2020 music exports were at £2.3 billion. The 23% loss was not as great as for GVA and employment (see here), indicating a degree of strength despite the decline.
This contributes hugely to the economic value of the UK music industry and demonstrates the soft power of British music.
However, the UK is facing increasing competition from developing markets, whose Governments are investing more in the cultural industries and helping their music industry’s flourish globally.
UK Music are working with the Government to promote UK music abroad and campaign for greater support in exporting.
Enhance Music Export Funding and Support
Government funding for export support should also continue and be extended. Established in 2013, the BPI-administered Music Export Growth Scheme continues to be a successful part of growing UK sales abroad. Find out more about the Music Export Growth Scheme here.
Another excellent example of the work to help boost overseas trade is the PRS Foundation’s International Showcase Fund. Find out more about the International Showcase Fund here.
Both the Music Export Growth Scheme and the International Showcase Fund create over 10 times as much money as is invested.
This will help support British artists target more export markets, preventing the UK losing global market share in the face of intensifying competition.
Action On International Touring
A key export market for the UK is Europe, which has been impacted by the UK’s exit from the European Union. UK artists, musicians and crew now face prohibitive red tape and costs. Read more about this issue here.
The USA is also a market where the UK music often performs well but has strong competition.
Events like SXSW are an excellent showcase for our musical talent , however cost of visas for UK artists to perform is prohibitive for many.
UK Music urges the Government to address the growing disparity between the cost and bureaucracy for UK artists to perform and tour in the US and those of US artists doing so in the UK in any UK/US trade negotiations.
Following the UK’s formal departure from the EU in 2020, supporting and growing the UK’s music industry overseas is more important than ever. New free trade agreements present an opportunity to secure this.
Overcoming market access issues, whether its impediments to copyright licensing or ensuring performers can enter without unnecessary bureaucracy should be prioritized as part of the negotiations.
The Government has launched an Export Support Service helpline and online service where all UK businesses can get answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe. You can access the service online here or by calling 0300 303 8955.
The GREAT Campaign showcases the very best of the UK, inspiring the world to collaborate, visit, study and do business here. Find out more here.
- UK Music Submission to House of Lords EU Services Sub-Committee Future Trade in Services with the EU
- Potential areas of improvement to the current trading arrangements with Mexico
- Potential areas of improvement to the current trading arrangements with Canada
- Free Trade Agreement between the UK and New Zealand
- Free Trade Agreement between the UK and India