The UK music industry is poised to be an important growth sector in the second half of this decade.
In 2019, prior to the pandemic, the sector was worth £5.8 billion to the UK economy, growing 65% compared to seven years prior. (UK Music, This Is Music 2022)
The creative industries – of which music is an integral part – have grown at over one and a half times the rate of the UK economy in the last decade (DCMS 2023).
The next Government now has an opportunity to tap into this significant growth potential. In an increasingly competitive global environment, a mixture of increased investment, fiscal incentives and other government-backed initiatives will help to stimulate activity, create jobs, and boost growth.
How Can Music Industry Growth Be Incentivised?
We ask the Government to:
Introduce A Tax Credit To Encourage New UK Music Production
Unlike other creative sectors, such as film, TV, and video games, the UK music industry does not benefit from a tax credit scheme. This puts the UK at a competitive disadvantage compared to other established music markets, such as France, Australia, and some US states, who offer such incentives.
A tax credit supporting music creation in the UK would allow us to retain our homegrown talent
and attract significant inward investment, helping to ensure that the UK is a global destination for music making.
It could incentivise investment in the next generation of world class music talent in the UK, and encourage inward investment into capacity building, professionalisation, and growth.
The success of the UK’s music industry is built on a strong copyright framework. Intellectual property (IP) rights ensure musicians, songwriters, and rightsholders are paid for the use of their work. A clear and robust framework creates legal certainty, allowing creators to monetise their work and giving music businesses the confidence needed to invest in emerging talent.
Policymakers must ensure that the UK has the most fit for purpose copyright framework in the world, capable of protecting rights and fostering innovation and growth. Doing so will cement our status as a cultural hub and the global destination to perform, record and do business. Read more here.
Reduce VAT On Tickets
UK gig-goers are charged 20% VAT on tickets, which is almost double the EU average (10.3%) and around triple countries like Belgium (6%) and Germany (7%).
Reducing VA on tickets to 10% will incentivise investment in the grassroots of the sector, stimulate live music activity and boost local economies.
Regulate Against Exploitative Secondary Ticketing Practices
Many online secondary ticketing platforms allow event tickets to be resold at prices significantly above face value. Just hours after Eurovision 2023 tickets sold out, they appeared on these platforms for up to £9,000 – more than 20 times their original price.
Extortionate resale prices, alongside practices like bulk-buying and speculative selling only serve to enrich resellers and exploit fans. The Government should protect music lovers by introducing measures to curb these practices.
Increase Arts Council England (ACE) Funding
ACE, and its devolved equivalents, provide vital funding support and grants for music projects.
Beneficiaries include many grassroots music venues, a diverse range of orchestras, music charities, independent labels and promoters, and music education organisations. However, funding reductions and removals from the National Portfolio have highlighted that ACE requires a larger funding settlement to continue investing in projects without making cuts elsewhere.
Support Public Service Broadcasting
The UK’s network of public service broadcasters play a vital role in supporting the success of the music industry.
They provide a platform for artists, musicians, songwriters, producers, and composers, enabling them to reach a wider audience and gain exposure.
The BBC and music enjoy a particularly strong relationship. The corporation gives important exposure to upcoming talent and supports music exports through the global reach of its radio stations and licensing TV broadcast content to other territories. Read more here.
Long-term Business Rates Cut For Music Spaces
The current business rates system penalises studios and venues, since they often require a large floor space and are typically in city centres or regenerating locations. Moreover, modern music infrastructure often involves multi-use facilities affiliated with indie labels and SMEs. These locations typically include studios, rehearsal spaces and other community music facilities that suffer from high rates.
Updating outdated SIC codes is critical for business rates reform, with studios, venues, and other music spaces lacking dedicated classifications reflecting their unique characteristics.
Put ‘Agent of Change’ Protections In Primary Legislation To Protect Venues Threatened With Closure
Many music venues are threatened by planning and licensing disputes arising from new developments and resident complaints about noise levels. The Agent of Change principle places responsibility on new developments to mitigate noise complaints when situated near existing music venues. To ensure reliable protections for venues, it is essential to enshrine Agent of Change in law and move beyond its current implementation through guidance and policy. Find out more here.
Music Boards can co-ordinate strategy to support the music industry and venues, nurture future talent and act as focal point to boost growth and jobs in the sector.
Music Boards can co-ordinate strategy to support the music industry and venues, nurture future talent and act as focal point to boost growth and jobs in the sector. Read more about music boards here.
Creating Music Powerhouses
Music spaces add to the vibrancy of communities, helping to attract people, talent and businesses, and should be seen as a tool in the levelling up agenda. Music tourists travel across the UK and come from overseas to attend gigs, concerts and festivals, demonstrating the regional diversity of music.
Yet, these spaces face a heavier tax burden in comparison to their European counterparts. UK gig-goers are charged 20% VAT on tickets, which is almost double the EU average (10.3%) and around triple countries like Belgium (6%) and Germany (7%). Bringing VAT on tickets in line with the EU average would help stimulate live music activity and boost local economies.
The UK Government should look at how these spaces can be promoted through the planning
system. There should also be a statutory duty for local authorities to consider access to music in local planning decisions. The devolved governments should do the same within their own planning systems. Find out more about developing music powerhouses and our toolkit for local government here.
If you would like to read more about our asks to Government read our Manifesto for Music.
- Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Draft Media Bill Submission to DCMS
- UKM Response to UK Government Call for Evidence on R & D Tax Reliefs
- UKM Submission Reimagining Where We Live Cultural Placemaking and the Levelling Up Agenda
- Classifying and Measuring the Creative Industries Consultation on Proposed Changes
- UKM Culture and Local Government Commission Short Submission
- Treasury Committee Fiscal Incentives Review Response
- Manifesto for Music 2023
- Here, There and Everywhere 2023
- Music Powerhouse Toolkit: A Guide For Towns, Cities and Regions
- This Is Music 2022
- This Is Music 2021
- Music by Numbers 2020
- Music by Numbers 2019
- Measuring Music 2018
- Measuring Music 2017
- Measuring Music 2016
- Measuring Music 2015
- Measuring Music 2014