The global growth in music streaming and Britain’s exceptional talent as a music nation is poised to push UK music exports to more than £1 billion a year by 2030, a new report by independent and major labels association the BPI reveals today.

With the UK forging its future as an independent trading nation following its departure from the EU, the BPI report highlights the huge global growth opportunities for British music and artists if Government works with the music industry to promote British artists overseas.

As emerging markets adopt online music streaming, global revenues from recorded music are forecast to rise to almost $40 billion (£30bn) by 2030.1 If UK music exports continue their growth rate as the market expands, they will surpass the £1 billion mark over the same period, more than double today’s level. This would benefit not only artists and fans, by enabling greater earnings and investment into UK new talent, it would also help the recovery of the UK economy and boost the UK’s cultural influence as it pursues trade opportunities around the world.

Alongside long-established markets in Europe, North America and Australasia, where our music has traditionally been hugely popular, exports opportunities are now also growing in rapidly-expanding new markets across Asia and South America, while rising demand in Africa and in the Middle East adds new prospects for British artists and music. However the expansion of the global streaming market also means stiffer competition, with smaller countries such as the UK having to work harder to gain a share of listening on streaming platforms world-wide.

The BPI calls on the Government to strike a new strategic partnership with the music industry to seize this exceptional opportunity, so that the full economic and cultural potential of British music can be realised. In particular, Government should: support an expansion in the promotion of UK artists and music overseas, including through a renewal of the successful Music Export Growth Scheme2 to globally-promote artists signed to smaller independent labels; make the UK more attractive for investment by introducing incentives to music production here in the UK; and ensure that high standards of copyright protection are enshrined in trade agreements so the full benefits of exports can flow back to British creators and the UK.

Mercury Prize winners from 2018 Wolf Alice, who are one of over 250 artists to have benefitted from Music Export Growth Scheme funding as they built their international career, have added their voice to the BPI’s call for the scheme to be extended, saying:
“The global reach of British music gives us the ability to connect with fans all around the world, and the support that we had from the Music Export Growth Scheme early in our career was critical in us breaking through in key markets such as the USA. With streaming now growing fast even in emerging markets, we hope that other new British artists will receive similar support, so that British music can make even more of an international impact.” Please see notes for further artist quotes in support of MEGS.

The BPI sets out these opportunities and asks in a new report, All Around The World, which is published today.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, said:
“We are at a pivotal moment for British music on the global stage. As the UK works to build back from Covid-19 and forge its future as an independent trading nation, music can play a vitally important cultural and economic role. Because of streaming, our country has a huge opportunity to connect artists with fans in ways never before possible. There is a £1 billion prize to be gained for the UK, which would benefit artists, fans and the UK economy alike.
“We are today putting forward a plan to work with Government to support touring and showcasing by more UK artists and deliver substantial growth in music exports. SME and indie music companies will directly benefit and amplify the extensive work record labels do to develop and promote British music globally."

The UK is a global leader in music – the biggest exporter of recorded music after the US, accounting for 1 in 10 music streams across the world. To put this in context, the UK’s share of global music consumption is over 4 four times higher than its share of global GDP.

Backed by the creative A&R and marketing investment of their labels, superstar artists such as Ed Sheeran, Adele and Sam Smith – joined more recently by the likes of Dua Lipa, Stormzy, Lewis Capaldi, Harry Styles, Jorja Smith and Dave among many more artists – are leading a new generation of diverse British talent that is successfully harnessing the global reach of streaming to connect with hundreds of millions of new fans around the world.

Over 300 British artists are already achieving more than 100m global streams, with this number rising every year.

British recorded music exports reached £489 million in 2019, up from £211 million in 2010, and part of £6 billion total export earnings generated since 2000. Aside from the direct benefits to the UK economy, rising exports increase the ability of labels to invest in new talent and music. This boosts music consumption and ignites a cycle of growth that benefits artists, fans and all parts of the music ecosystem. Growth is driven by label A&R investment, which at over £250 million in 2019 stands at a near two-decade high, while a further £150 million-plus went into global marketing. UK record labels consistently invest more in talent than most other countries, a commitment that underpins the UK’s international success.

The Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS), funded by the Department for International Trade (DIT) in partnership with the Exporting is GREAT campaign and run by the BPI, is an important foundation of this success. Since launching in 2014, hundreds of artists, drawn largely from the indie community, have been backed in their overseas touring and promotion, boosting exports by £46.5 million – a return of £12 for every pound invested.

To realise the full potential for rapid exports growth, BPI is calling on the Government to provide vital support by:

⮚ Doubling successful Music Export Growth Scheme grant support and investing in international showcases and events that will help to promote British artists to the world;

Introducing a music production tax credit to encourage new investment into creating new recordings in the UK, boosting music, jobs and skills;
⮚ Prioritising agreement with the EU and third countries to enable artists and crews to tour and promote their music as easily as possible, and to make the UK easily accessible for global talent looking to visit the UK to record and perform;

⮚ Making the UK copyright regime the strongest and best enforced in the world. This incentivises investment in British artists and provides the best platform for their success overseas;

⮚ Raising standards of copyright protection and enforcement in key export markets through trade negotiations, and not accepting any watering down of UK copyright in deals.

All Around The World explores in depth the opportunities in key markets across the globe. In Europe – where countries including Germany, France and the Benelux play a key role in breaking new UK talent; in North America, which in 2019 was the UK’s single biggest music export territory; across Asia, where new markets such as Indonesia and The Philippines are fast emerging alongside China and India; in South America, particularly Brazil, and in Australasia, which has always been a vital market for UK acts. New markets are also beginning to open across Africa and the Middle East. The report tells the story of what labels do to break an artist globally, and provides label case studies of artists including Gavin James, Catfish and The Bottlemen, Dua Lipa, Tom Walker, and Rex Orange County.

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