The Future of UK Music Industry: 5 Reasons for Optimism.

Critical Overview: The Resilience of the UK Music Industry in the Face of the Pandemic

As the UK approaches the one-year anniversary since the start of its first COVID-19 lockdown, it is clear that the pandemic has had a profound impact on many sectors, including the music industry. However, despite the ongoing restrictions, recent developments, such as the rollout of vaccine programmes and the government’s roadmap for unlocking the country, have generated a sense of optimism about the future. In this context, the BPI’s ‘Around the World’ report is a timely and important piece of research that highlights the resilience of the music industry in the face of the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, the UK music industry was a significant contributor to the country’s economy, generating £5.8 billion in gross value added, supporting 200,000 jobs, and generating £2.9 billion in export revenues. As a sector that has consistently demonstrated creativity and cultural innovation for over six decades, the music industry is well-positioned to weather the storm caused by the pandemic. While rebuilding will be necessary, the BPI report identifies several positive trends that suggest that the music industry is on the path to recovery.

UK record labels’ investment in talent has consistently outstripped most other countries, according to the BPI report. This investment in artist and repertoire (A&R) and global marketing is the driving force behind the UK’s international success, with A&R investment reaching a near two-decade high of over £250 million in 2019. Furthermore, the report projects a period of sustained growth in recorded music industry income worldwide, driven by the increasing popularity of subscription music streaming services such as Spotify and Amazon Music. According to Goldman Sachs, global revenues from recorded music are set to rise by £30 billion by 2030.

The BPI report also highlights the success of UK bands and artists in capitalising on the widespread adoption of music streaming, with over 300 British artists already achieving more than 100 million global streams. One in every ten songs streamed around the world in 2020 was by a British artist, with the UK’s share of global streaming (10.1 percent) more than four times greater than its share of global GDP (2.2 percent). Additionally, the report identifies emerging markets in Asia and South America as important markets alongside late adopters such as Japan and Germany, with Latin America, Asia, and the rest of the world projected to account for at least a third of music streaming revenue by 2027.

Conclusion: The Future of the UK Music Industry

The BPI’s ‘Around the World’ report provides an authoritative and critical overview of the music industry’s resilience in the face of the pandemic. Despite the challenges of the past year, the report highlights several reasons for optimism, including sustained growth in recorded music industry income worldwide, the success of UK bands and artists in music streaming, and the continued investment in talent by UK record labels. As the world emerges from the pandemic, the return of live music combined with the success of streaming suggests that the music industry is poised to reach new heights of success in the coming months and years.