UK music industry had bumper 2019 before pandemic’s ruinous impact – report

The UK music industry contributed £5.8 billion to the economy last year but the coronavirus pandemic has had a ruinous impact, according to a new report.

UK Music said stars including Ed Sheeran, Stormzy and Dua Lipa had helped the industry grow by 11% in 2019, while employment hit an all-time high.

The figures were included in the industry body’s annual report, titled Music By Numbers 2020, which looked at the 12 months up to December 31 last year.

Dua Lipa
Chart-topping pop star Dua Lipa contributed towards a bumper year for the UK music industry before the coronavirus pandemic struck (Ian West/PA)

The pandemic has since had a catastrophic impact, with lockdown and social distancing rules all but wiping out live music and closing venues across the country.

Musicians rely “very heavily” on live performing for income, the report says, adding: “In aggregate over 65% of music creators’ income will be lost as a direct consequence of Covid-19 and this could extend to over 80% for those most reliant on live performance.”

The industry now faces a “marathon effort to get back on its feet as it strives to return to pre-Covid levels of success as swiftly as possible,” UK Music said.

Chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “2019 was a fantastic year for the UK music industry, and we were firmly on track to be one of the great British success stories of the coming decade.

“Music By Numbers 2020 shows just how successful our industry was before the catastrophic blow of Covid-19 knocked it down, and how important it is that we get it back on its feet.

“When the time comes to recover from this pandemic, our world-leading music industry can be a key part of our country’s post-Covid economic and cultural revival – but we need the right support to get us there.”

Minister for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage said: “We know what an immensely tough year 2020 has been for the music industry as a result of Covid-19 which has presented significant challenges for the sector.

“That is why the Government stepped in with an unprecedented £1.57 billion culture recovery fund to help the sector weather the impact of coronavirus and protect music venues, festivals, and our vital cultural assets.”

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