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UK Music: Tick Off To Free Riders

New figures published by UK Music today reveal that the UK music industry grew by 6% in 2016, contributing £4.4bn to the economy.

The ‘Measuring Music 2017’ report indicates that the music industry continued to grow last year across almost every sector of the business. Exports jumped by 13% to £2.5bn, while the contribution of live music grew by 14% to £1bn. In comparison, recorded music grew by 5% to £640m. Employment across the sector increased by 19% to a total of 142,208 people.

The export figures are especially impressive and no doubt driven by the success of large UK acts such as Ed Sheeran, Adele and Skepta.

But not everything in the garden is rosy according to UK Music Chief Executive Michael Dugher, who called on tech companies to close the much discussed ‘value gap’ and end the “free ride” by properly rewarding artists and creators.

Dugher said:  “The number of new jobs created in the UK rose at a faster pace than the rest of the employment market and our export figures shot up across the board. The outlook for the music business is better than it has been in years. But we urgently need to address the ‘value gap’ on the new and exciting platforms that many people now use to listen to music. Unlike subscription services, those platforms often offer little adequate reward to the investors and creators of the music that drives so much of their traffic”.

He concluded: “There is still too often a culture of denial from the big tech firms. The way people listen to music may be changing, but certain fundamental responsibilities must continue.  It’s time for the free ride to come to an end”.

Interestingly, the report also includes details of a UK Music survey on the views of the music industry on Brexit. In the results, only 2% thought Brexit would have a positive impact on their chances of work whereas 50% feared leaving the EU would have a negative impact. This is unsurprising for an industry that was predominantly against leaving the EU, with a Creative Industries Federation survey prior to Brexit revealing that 96% of its members were in favour of remaining.

However, one in five (19.5%) believed that Brexit would have no impact, while 28% responded that they did not know.

On that note, Dugher also this month urged the Government to end the “uncertainty and lack of clarity” facing the industry over Brexit.

Find out more and read the report here.

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