Music tourism contributes over £3.5bn to UK economy

UK Music has today published ‘Wish You Were Here 2016’, an economic study that reveals the vast contribution of live music and music tourism to the UK economy.

The report features both national and regional figures and for the first time shows the huge impact of music tourism on 12 UK cities.

According to the report, more people are watching live music locally, with 17.3 million local residents attending music events in their area during the year, up more than 14% on 2014.

Last year saw a 16% rise in overseas tourists travelling to the UK (around 767,000) to attend music events, each with an average spend of £852 going directly to UK businesses. Those attending live concerts and festivals in the UK helped generate £3.7 billion in direct and indirect spend during the period, a 7% increase on last year’s figure.

The impact of grassroots music venues (under 1,500 capacity) was also measured for the first time this year. These vital venues were visited by a total audience of 5.6 million audience in 2015.

Music tourism has been driving wealth into recovering local economies across the whole of the UK, and this increase in music tourism provides a huge boost to employment throughout the country, with 39,034 full time jobs sustained by music tourism in the UK last year.

“This is a fantastic achievement and a great testament to both our live music industry and the musical talent it supports. This is no surprise given British artists account for just over one in seven albums purchased by fans around the globe,” said John Whittingdale MP, secretary of state for culture, media and sport.

Jo Dipple, UK Music chief executive, added: “The appetite for live music continues to grow. Last year overseas music tourism increased by 16%, whilst British music events were attended by a staggering 27.7 million people in 2015. What this report shows, unequivocally, is the economic value of live music to communities, cities and regions.”

Andy Heath, chairman of UK Music, concluded: “The future of British music is dependent on emerging talent, both in performance and business. Securing our future depends on the creation of optimum conditions to support young people to become musicians, songwriters, creative technicians and one of the 39,034 jobs in this report. This report must focus policy makers on creating the right conditions for the future of an industry that astounds, entertains and attracts the world.”

Picture: Main stage at Download Festival 2015, Donington Park – Credit: Richard Johnson 2015