Research & Reports

This Is Music 2022

This Is Music is the flagship annual economic study by UK Music. The 2022 report reveals how the sector began to recover from the initial impact of the pandemic and what needs to be done to future-proof the industry.

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The key findings in This Is Music – based on data collated from across the music industry in 2021 – include:

  • UK music industry’s contribution to UK economy in 2021 was £4 billion – up 26% on the £3.1 billion figure for 2020, but still down 31% on the pre-Covid all-time high of £5.8 billion in 2019.
  • Employment in the music industry rose to 145,000 jobs in 2021 – up 14% on the 128,000 jobs in 2020, but still down 26% on the pre-Covid record of 197,000 jobs in 2019.
  • Exports in the sector rose in 2021 to £2.5 billion – up 10% on the £2.3 billion figure in 2020, but still down 15% on the £2.9 billion in 2019.

The data shows that in 2021 the sector was recovering from the initial impact of the pandemic, as the music industry adapted.

While music studios were allowed to remain open with limitations, the Government-mandated restrictions meant that live venues spent a significant amount of the year closed or operating at limited capacity.

This was a major factor in the drop in the music industry’s economic contribution, which fell from its pre-pandemic high of £5.8 billion in 2019 to £4 billion in 2021.

The 2021 This is Music data also showed many of the music industry jobs wiped out by the pandemic, which saw employment in the sector drop by 35% from 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020, had not returned in 2021.

While exports were still down on the 2019 pre-pandemic figures, year-on-year demand strengthened significantly in 2021, with a 10% rise from £2.3 billion to £2.5 billion.

However, there were some great British success stories. In 2021, the biggest selling album in the world was Adele’s ‘30’. Ed Sheeran’s ‘=’ was the fourth best-selling album and Dua Lipa’s ‘Future Nostalgia’ was in sixth place.

This Is Music 2022 outlines a five-step plan for Government to support the music industry recovery:

  • Protect and promote music made in the UK at home and abroad: Protect intellectual property, reduce red tape, establish a transitional support fund, increase export support programmes and establish an export office.
  • Incentivise music activity in the UK: Create a fiscal incentive to encourage new UK music production and reform understanding of the potential for the sector.
  • Support music industry in delivering for society: Establish a Government-industry working group on sustainability and appoint a Commissioner to ensure music is included in health and social care provision.
  • Building UK music careers and skills: Deliver the Arts Pupil Premium to support schools’ provision of music to all children and introduce parity of support for the self-employment.
  • Support music spaces throughout the UK: In face of rising inflation reduce VAT, introduce business rates cuts and new duties to protect music.