Research & Reports

This Is Music 2021

This Is Music is the flagship annual economic study by UK Music and its members, The 2021 report shows the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and outlines how the music industry can recover.

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This Is Music is the flagship annual economic study by UK Music and its members, The 2021 report shows the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and outlines how the music industry can recover.

The key findings about the music industry contained in This Is Music 2021 include:

  • Employment plunged by 35% from 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020
  • Music industry’s economic contribution fell 46% from £5.8bn to £3.1bn in 2020
  • Music exports dropped 23% from £2.9 billion in 2019 to £2.3 billion in 2020

Glastonbury was among the hundreds of festivals and live music events cancelled after the first in a series of lockdowns was imposed in March 2020.

The impact was felt right across the industry as studios and venues were forced to close, and musicians and crew were unable to work. In a sector where three-quarters are self-employed, many were not covered by Government support schemes.

The huge economic contribution that music made to the UK economy in 2019 almost halved as a result of the pandemic – falling by 46% from a record £5.8 billion (GVA) in 2019 to £3.1 billion in 2020.

The pandemic triggered a wave of job losses across the UK music industry, which saw one in three jobs lost in the sector as the employment level fell by 35% from 2019’s all-time high of 197,000 to 128,000 in 2020.

Exports suffered a 23% drop from £2.9 billion in 2019 to £2.3 billion last year, according to the flagship economic study, which UK Music has carried out since 2013 with its members.

UK Music is calling on the Government to implement:

  • Tax incentives for the music industry to stimulate growth and jobs
  • Urgent action to remove the barriers to touring the EU
  • A permanent reduction in VAT rate on live music event tickets
  • More funding and support for music exports
  • Boosting funding for music education and for the self-employed to help secure the talent pipeline

In addition to UK Music’s research, UK Music also commissioned Public First to survey the views of the general public on the music industry.

The survey by Public First found:

  • 75% of the public are proud of the UK music industry and its heritage
  • 59% believe music improves the UK’s reputation overseas
  • 74% say music is important to their quality of life
  • UK listens to 60 billion hours of music a year – the equivalent of 7 million years
  • 1 million people took up a music instrument during lockdown