Editorial: It's The Economy, Stupid

16 Jun 2016

The economics of the music business can be hard to quantify in the absence of meaningful, reliable and regular data capture with which to inform and influence a range of policy and decision making.  But it’s getting better and we read with interest headline stats from UK Music’s 2015 annual report – Measuring Music – which now places the live sector as having experienced the fastest GVA and employment growth throughout 2014, and was the only sector in the entire UK economy to grow by 5% (UK economy growth being 2.6% in 2014).

Fast forward to 2017, only time will tell whether we’ll be discussing 2016 as positively, should the UK make a #Brexit on June 23, in which case the live sector, exports, manufacturing and copyright reform perhaps stand to loose the most.

To the best of our knowledge we were early off the starting block with this debate (We Need To Talk About Europe).  Though our own survey results proved inconclusive, individually, respondents reinforced ours and others’ thinking on the topic which has since become more detailed and thankfully way more dignified than vast swathes of political rhetoric which has left the electorate poorly served in this important debate.  Pitchfork’s Laura Snapes’ piece is particularly illuminating, and for the undecided, a worthwhile read.

Both the performance of the live sector and the fact that a disproportionately high number of musicians continue to struggle to sustain the most modest of incomes (not to mention future financial provision) are particularly relevant to our own current research projects.

Operating within one of the leading universities for commercial music business affords us the opportunity to work with some of the sharpest minds in the industry, not to mention the numerous disciplines entwined within complex subject matters.

So it is that gratifying to be able to report that the first half of this year has seen MusicTank deep in research mode, spanning topics as diverse as musicians’ mental health, London’s night time economy and busking (busking report available here), involving academic and industry talent across law, social sciences and planning, in addition to commercial music business.

We’re also soon to publish the latest in our Future Thinking strand of activity, with the subject of music industry diversity adding to last years’ topics of big data, private copying and the making available right. This paper will get an airing at UK Music’s forthcoming Diversity event, 13 July, and will shortly be available as a free download, here.

All this serves to evidence that we continue to be nothing if not timely on issues affecting the business of music, and were delighted to learn that Remi Harris – author of our funding guide, Easy Money? – was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours, for services to the music industry.

Also dominating our agenda for the past few months has been a website re-design which is nearing completion and which will greatly improve the functionality of our site, and make more visible the huge amount of content available to site visitors and members alike.

Watch this space…

Editorial by Jonathan Robinson

 

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