Unveiling UK Music's This is Music 2022 annual report, UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said the economic findings showed why the government should act to support the music industry, which still faces a "major threat from strong economic headwinds".

UK Music's report measures the health of the music business by collating data about the sector's contribution in goods and services to the economy, known as gross value added.

The data shows that in 2021 the sector was recovering from the initial impact of the pandemic, as the music industry adapted. While music studios were allowed to remain open with limitations, the government-mandated restrictions meant that live venues spent a significant amount of the year closed or operating at limited capacity. This was a major factor in the drop in the music industry's economic contribution, which fell from its pre-pandemic high of £5.8 billion in 2019 to £4 billion in 2021.

The 2021 data also showed many of the music industry jobs wiped out by the pandemic – which saw employment in the sector drop by 35% from 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020 – had not returned in 2021.

While exports were still down on the 2019 pre-pandemic figures, year-on-year demand strengthened significantly in 2021, with a 10% rise from £2.3 billion to £2.5 billion.

Njoku-Goodwin said the report showed the urgent need for support from the new prime minister, Liz Truss, and the government to reduce the tax burden on the music industry, incentivise investment and help boost exports.

The report outlines a five-step plan for government to support the music industry recovery:

  • protect and promote music made in the United Kingdom at home and abroad – protect intellectual property, reduce red tape, establish a transitional support fund, increase export support programmes and establish an export office;
  • incentivise music activity in the United Kingdom – create a fiscal incentive to encourage new UK music production and reform understanding of the potential for the sector;
  • support the music industry in delivering for society – establish a government-industry working group on sustainability and appoint a commissioner to ensure music is included in health and social care provision;
  • build UK music careers and skills – deliver the arts pupil premium to support schools' provision of music to all children and introduce parity of support for the self-employment; and
  • support music spaces throughout the United Kingdom – in the face of rising inflation, reduce value-added tax, introduce business rates cuts and new duties to protect music.

For further information on this topic please contact Peter Mason at Wiggin by telephone (+44 1242 224 114) or email ([email protected]). The Wiggin website can be accessed at www.wiggin.co.uk.