Value of the UK live music scene surges to £1.1 billion

The new figures reveal the UK's music scene is booming

The UK’s live music scene has earned record highs of £1.1billion – an increase of 10 per cent on figures from 2017.

According to the ‘Music By Numbers’ report, the UK music industry continued to grow across all sectors last year but mostly in the area of live music.

As well as this, “music tourism” increased, as fans travelling from overseas or within the UK to get to live events contributed a huge 4.5bn to the UK economy. Those visiting the UK for shows and festivals also surged, increasing to 888,000 in 2018 from 810,000 in 2017.


Speaking to The GuardianMichael Dugher, the chief executive of UK Music, the industry body behind the annual report, said: “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.”

Live music at Y Not festival – Credit: Ollie Millington / Getty

Concert attendance stayed at similar levels but the report also revealed that festival going was on the increase, with 4.9 people attending in 2018 – an increase of 23 per cent.

The figures come as the writers of the report pointed out that many of the 139,352 musicians employed by the industry last year are still struggling to earn a living.

“A small proportion of creators in the industry do earn exceptionally well…It is important to understand these figures do not reflect the financial struggles of many music creators.”


Last year, The CEO of UK Music warned Brexit could pose a risk to the country’s live music industry and touring acts.

In a letter to May, Michael Dugher, CEO of UK Music – the umbrella organisation that represents industry groups such as PRS (Performing Right Society), PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited), and the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) – said Brexit could threaten the development of musical talent in Britain.

“The ending of free movement with no waiver for musicians will put our fast-growing live music sector, that generates around £1 billion a year for the UK economy, at serious risk,” Dugher wrote. “The costly bureaucracy will make touring simply unviable for very many artists who need to earn a living and it delivers a hammer blow to development of future, world-leading British talent.”

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