UK Music urges government to protect industry from ‘economic storm’

UK Music has urged the government to take action to protect the music industry from an “economic storm” as it continues to recover from the damage caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The organisation, which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music production side, said the sector had enjoyed a ‘fragile recovery’ as it revealed the industry was still significantly behind in some areas, including employment, compared to before the pandemic.

Bosses said the annual report showed the urgent need for support from new Prime Minister Liz Truss to reduce the music industry’s tax burden, encourage investment and help boost exports.

The This Is Music 2022 report is based on data collected from across the music industry in 2021.

Despite the ongoing recovery, the report also highlighted UK music success stories from the past year, including Adele (PA)

Key findings include that the UK music industry’s contribution to the UK economy in 2021 was £4bn, up 26% from £3.1bn in 2020, but still down 31 % from pre-Covid all-time high of £5.8bn in 2019. .

Similarly, employment in the music industry grew to 145,000 jobs in 2021, up 14% from 128,000 jobs in 2020, but down 26% from the pre-Covid record high of 197,000 jobs. in 2019.

The sector’s exports also increased in 2021 to £2.5bn, up 10% from the figure of £2.3bn in 2020, but still down 15% from the 2 £.9 billion in 2019.

Despite the ongoing recovery, the report also shed light on Britain’s musical successes over the past year.

In 2021, the world’s best-selling album was Adele’s highly anticipated 30, with Ed Sheeran = fourth bestseller, and Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia in sixth place.

UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said the music industry still faced a “major threat of strong economic headwinds”.

“The UK music industry is working hard to recover from the catastrophic impact of Covid, but there is still some way to go to restore the jobs and growth lost during the pandemic,” he said.

“Our sector still faces a serious threat from the economic storm which could derail our fragile recovery without urgent government support.

“It is essential that the government act to protect and support a sector that creates jobs, contributes to the economy and matters to millions of people across our country.

“The new prime minister has said she wants to cut taxes to stimulate growth.

“If she is serious about this, then she should use the emergency budget to reduce the tax burden on the music industry, for example by extending to the music industry the hugely successful tax breaks for the creative industry.

“It would encourage investment and boost exports of British music, which are under threat due to growing international competition and issues related to the UK’s exit from the European Union.”

Mr. Njoku-Goodwin also highlighted the urgent action needed to support businesses facing rising energy bills, as well as new measures to protect the intellectual property rights of artists.

He said previous proposals to grant AI companies a copyright exception for text and data mining were “an existential threat to our industry and must be stopped”.

“As we showed before the pandemic, the UK music industry can lead the world,” he said.

“But without the help of new Prime Minister Liz Truss and her ministerial team, there is the deeply worrying prospect that the billions spent to support music businesses and cultural institutions during the shutdowns will be wasted.

“We cannot allow this to happen.”

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