More people than ever are flocking to watch live music, with attendance at concerts and festivals at an all-time high.
A new report found that there has been a 12% rise in audiences at live music events over the past 12 months, bringing £4bn in to the UK economy and providing a welcome boost for the music industry.
UK Music’s study, Wish You Were Here, found that audience numbers had hit 30.9 million, up from 27.7 million in 2015, with 4 million people attending the ever-growing number of British music festivals in 2016. It is further evidence that the live sector is one of the most vibrant and profitable parts of the music industry, and it is through ticket sales and merchandise that most musicians generate the majority of their revenue.
The research found that people were increasingly willing to travel from other parts of the UK, and even from abroad, to attend live music events. Music tourism rose by 20% in 2016, and almost 1 million people travelled to the UK from abroad specifically to attend concerts and festivals, spending an average of £850.
The chief executive of UK Music, Michael Dugher, said: “Live music in the UK is a tremendous success story and makes a massive contribution to our culture and general wellbeing, as well as our economy. It showcases our talent to the world and brings pleasure to millions every day.”
However, the report also found that there was a sharp fall in the amount of money being spent at smaller venues – those with a capacity of below 1,500. These are the venues that have been closing in their droves over the past decade, declining by 35% in London thanks to rising costs, pressures from property developers and strict licensing laws.
Dugher emphasised that the smaller venues were a “vital part of the live music industry”.
“UK Music will continue to campaign to safeguard smaller music venues, many of which are fighting for survival,” the former Labour MP said.
The culture secretary, Karen Bradley, said: “UK Music’s Wish You Were Here report clearly shows music and the creative industries are not only central to our cultural DNA but also hugely important for creating jobs and growth across the country.”