Record-breaking year for the UK music industry

The UK's music industry enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2018, contributing £5.2bn to the UK economy, a new report has revealed. 

UK Music's annual 'Music By Numbers' report gave a breakdown of the sector's success, showing that there has never been a better time for music students and graduates to enter the business. 

The £5.2 bn figure was an increase on 2017's £4.5bn. Other headline figures revealed that employment within the sector now stands at an all-time high of 190,395. Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Sam Smith were among the artists driving the huge success of British music abroad with export revenue at £2.7bn for 2018.   

2018's big music industry numbers 

  • Music industry contributed £5.2bn to the UK economy
  • Live music sector contributed £1.1bn in 2018 (up 10 percent from 2017)
  • Music industry employment hit a record of 190,935 people in full-time roles
  • Total export revenue = £2.7bn in 2018
  • Music tourism contributed £4.5bn to the UK economy in 2018, with overseas visitors to the UK festivals and shows rising by 10 percent compared to 2017
  • Overseas visitors to UK shows and festivals surged by 10 percent from 810,000 in 2017 to 888,000 in 2018 


Record employment 

Out of the 190,935 of those employed full time in the industry, 139,352 were music creators, a demographic made up of musicians, singers, composers, songwriters, lyricists, producers and engineers.

A total of 30,529 people were employed in the live music sector in 2018, a rise of 7 percent on 2017 from the of 28,659.

London saw an increase of 23 percent in the number of jobs in music tourism, rising from 7,518 in 2017 to 9,252 in 2018. This was especially prevalent in the festival sector which saw employment rise by 74 percent to 2,889, in part due to the rise in the number of events held in the capital.  

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said:

Our report reveals firm evidence that the British music industry is in great shape and continuing to lead the world. The figures are hugely encouraging and show that, as well as enriching the lives of millions of people, music makes an incredible contribution to the UK’s economy."  

He added: "Live music is now at a record high and continues to draw millions of fans from both the UK and abroad to our arenas and smaller venues alike. Music exports are another amazing success story with the best of British creative talent being showcased across the globe." 

Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

This year’s 'Music By Numbers' report reveals the industry is worth an amazing £5.2bn to the economy and the live music sector is breaking the £1bn barrier. We are seeing exciting new artists like Sam Fender, Dave and Litte Simz." 


Our ongoing contribution to the industry

At ICMP, we believe we are helping contribute to this success and the record-breaking employment numbers with our focus on preparing the next generation of musicians, producers, performers, creative artists and entrepreneurs to enjoy rewarding careers.

We must be doing something right, because within six months of graduating over 94 percent of ICMP students are in employment or further education and in 2017*,  those graduates were earning an average salary of £24,000, which is £5,000 higher than other UK music students.**

Pete Whittard, ICMP's Chief Operating Officer, said: 

ICMP has been at the heart of London's music industry for the last 30 years, helping give the next generation of musicians, songwriters and music business professionals the essential skills to make a brilliant career. We're delighted that the sector is seeing such highs and look forward to continuing to play a key role in its success."

Oli Tatler, ICMP Careers and Employability Manager, added:

The record-breaking employment figures show why there's no better time to kick start your music industry career. The ICMP experience goes a long way to equipping the modern music industry professional with the entrepreneurial skills and mindset they need to enjoy a fantastic career." 

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Join ICMP's music community

If you're interested in joining our diverse and inclusive community of students, then speak to our friendly Admissions Team. They're on hand to help you find the right course that matches your ability and aspirations.

Contact the team on 020 7328 0222 or via email and start your music career today.

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