Music By Numbers report 2020

18 November, 2020

Findings from the newly-published Music By Numbers report paint a healthy, fast-growing picture of the music industry’s state pre-Covid. Across all sectors of the industry, growth, profits and employment figures were taken into account before the pandemic hit. The report shows how vibrant and thriving the industry was before the epidemic and how the industry will be a vital part of the UK’s post-Covid economic and cultural revival.

British talent including George Ezra, Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Dua Lipa, Lewis Capaldi, Mabel and Dave were among the star names that helped the industry continue its growth in 2019. However, the pandemic and social distancing restrictions meant venues were forced to close as the pause button was pressed on vast swathes of the music industry.

Despite the buoyant 2019 figures outlined in Music By Numbers, the industry now faces a marathon effort to get back on its feet as it strives to return to pre-Covid levels of success as swiftly as possible.

The new report, which was published today by industry body UK Music, features figures for the 12 months up to December 31, 2019. The report contains an introduction from Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister for Digital and Culture and Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, Chief Executive, UK Music. Both summarise its key findings.

Music By Numbers 2020 key facts

The key facts in Music By Numbers 2020 include:

  • The UK music industry contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019 – up 11% from £5.2 billion in 2018 and a new high following a decade of sustained growth
  • Employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 197,168 in 2019 – an increase of 3% from 190,935 in 2018
  • The total export revenue of the music industry was £2.9 billion in 2019 – up 9% from £2.7 billion in 2018
  • In addition to the industry’s direct economic contribution, music tourism alone contributed £4.7 billion in terms of spending to the UK economy in 2019 – up 6% from £4.5 billion in 2018


Unveiling the report, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music Chief Executive said:

“2019 was a fantastic year for the UK music industry, and we were firmly on track to be one of the great British success stories of the coming decade.

Music By Numbers 2020 shows just how successful our industry was before the catastrophic blow of COVID-19 knocked it down, and how important it is that we get it back on its feet.

“When the time comes to recover from this pandemic, our world-leading music industry can be a key part of our country’s post-Covid economic and cultural revival – but we need the right support to get us there.”

Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture added:

“The UK music industry is at the heart of our arts and cultural sector, which is the envy of the world. It is a key national asset and something that should make us all proud. Music enriches all of our lives, but it also makes a huge contribution to our economy.

“British stars helped drive exports up to £2.9 billion in 2019 – a 9% increase and a fantastic overseas calling card for Britain. Behind every artist, band, and orchestra is an army of talented professionals who play their part in the industry’s ecosystem.

“However, we know what an immensely tough year 2020 has been for the music industry as a result of COVID-19 which has presented significant challenges for the sector.

“That is why the Government stepped in with an unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the sector weather the impact of coronavirus and protect music venues, festivals, and our vital cultural assets.”

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin continued:

“Our music industry is a key national asset. As this report shows, it contributes £5.8 billion a year to the economy, generates £2.9 billion in exports, and supports almost 200,000 jobs. It boosts Britain’s standing in the world, bringing a soft power that few other industries can boast.

This report shows just how valuable our music industry is – and how important it is that we take action to protect it. The UK music industry was a vibrant, fast-growing and commercially successful sector before the pandemic hit, and with the right support, it can be again.

“I am convinced we have the people, the drive and determination to fire up our industry once more and become a key part of our country’s post-COVID-19 economic and cultural revival.”

Mel Thornton, Group Head of Careers & Employability at BIMM Institute

Mel Thornton, Group Head of Careers and Employability at BIMM Institute, helps facilitate BIMM students’ transition into the world of work. Naturally, Mel was delighted with the report’s findings.

“UK Music’s annual Music By Numbers report is a great time for us all to reflect on emerging employment patterns and opportunities to invest in key areas. Never has this been more true than now, as 2020 draws to a close.

“BIMM Institute is committed to developing the talent pipeline for the future of the music industry, and we want to support employers in every way we can. Earlier this year, we launched Talent Match: a free recruitment service that sources new talent for businesses and helps our young people find employment directly or via the government’s Kickstart Scheme.”

The BIMM Talent Team will also help recruit for graduate internships and music teaching positions. With continued government support, the industry will get back on its feet, and our community of creative graduates will be ready.


The Music By Numbers report proves that the UK Music industry was booming before COVID-19 hit, and with the right help and talent, it can boom once more.

BIMM Institute’s well-tuned balance of courses, work experience, festival engagement and Masterclasses are the best way for young people to prepare themselves for a career in one of the UK’s most exciting industries.

Are you interested in a career in music? Take a look at our courses page and discover which path is right for you.


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