Credit: Christopher Johnson/Flickr

Britain's music industry has upped the tempo

Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Ellie Goulding have helped drive up growth by 5% this year.

by Jack Torrance
Last Updated: 06 Jan 2016

With online streaming on the rise and iconic live venues closing their doors, you could be forgiven for thinking that the music industry in Britain, and elsewhere, is in a spot of bother. While it’s true that artists have been complaining about the impact of Spotify et al on their pay packets, Britain’s music industry is actually outstripping the economy at large.

According to a report by the trade body UK Music released today,the industry now employs 117,000 people and contributed £4.1bn in gross value added to the economy in 2013, up 5% from the previous year.

Of that, £2.1bn was generated by exports - a much higher proportion than in most other industries. According to UK Music’s chief exec Jo Dipple, that reflects the international success of big-name artists like Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith, who recorded the theme song for the new James Bond film Spectre. British artists were responsible for one in seven of all albums sold globally last year.

‘The sector is growing again, and that is thanks to the recognition and adoption of new technology and the continued power of a vibrant live music sector,’ added UK Music chairman Andy Heath. ‘We continue to lead the world in song writing, composing, production, recordings and live performances.’

While CD and download sales are still on the slide, it seems it's all song and dance for Britain's music industry now, having adapted well to the economic realities that threatened to decimate it. 

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