The UK music business contributed a whopping £4.1bn to the British economy in 2014 – with the live music sector claiming almost a quarter of the spoils. UK Music’s third annual economic study, Measuring Music 2015, refers to the GVA (Gross Value Added) performance from all sectors of the business, including publishing, live and records. In 2013, the GVA of the UK business was £3.8bn, £300m behind 2014’s tally. In 2014, live music revenues were up by 17% year-on-year to £924m, almost exactly 50% bigger than the contribution from recorded music, which stood at £615m. Music publishers contributed £410m to the UK economy in 2014, but the biggest revenue generator was ‘musicians, composers songwriters and lyricists’, who racked up £1.9bn in total – three times the figure attributed to labels.
And the Measuring Music report also looks at investment - showing that publishers almost match record labels in A&R investment - although the labels spend almost the same again on marketing. Record labels spent £178m on A&R in 2014, but publishers spent £162m on writers in the year, and in terms of ‘pure’ A&R investment, this was just £16m behind their peers in record companies. The labels spend on marketing was an additional £157 million.
Retail sales of recorded music will see little variation in total spending levels in the years to 2020 despite the rising interest in streaming, according to global analyst firm Ovum’s latest forecasts. Spending on digital formats and services will overtake physical formats this year and go on to account for almost three-quarters of all sales in just six years.