‘Music Industry Contributes £6.7bn to UK Economy’: RoughTrade MD on the role of independent stores, artists and venues

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Earlier this week, UK Music published its annual report on the economic impact of the British music industry, which contributed £6.7bn to the UK economy in 2022 due to gross value added. The report also revealed that exports are at £4bn and employment is at 210,000.

Lawrence Montgomery, UK Managing Director of Rough Trade, discusses the role of the independent music industry (stores, artists and venues) in such growth and how additional support is needed to sustain it. Read on to find out more…

How has the independent music industry contributed to this growth?

“The independent music industry is crucial to this growth. While we can’t speak for everyone, Rough Trade’s own growth in the last year is a testament to this.

“For example, earlier this year, UK reports revealed that record sales reached £116.8m last year, and our vinyl sales grew by 34 per cent vs 2021. As Rough Trade accounts for nearly 10 per cent of the UK vinyl market, along with other indie retailers, the surge has seen the market share of indie record shops grow to 28 per cent.

“As a result, we’ve seen increased footfall, online retail traffic and a 20 per cent year-on-year sales growth in 2023. With more growth projected, this has allowed us to invest in more stores in cities that lack a great record shop.

“And, as a demonstration of customer demand, we’ve been able to put on 745 quality music events over the last year, hosted at our stores in London, Bristol and Nottingham, as well as our outstore venues.

“We were lucky enough to host Lewis Capaldi for four events at one of our outstore venues to celebrate the release of his latest record ‘Broken by Desire to be Heavenly Sent’, which generated over 4,500+ album sales. Similarly, we helped Jorja Smith celebrate the release of ‘Falling or Flying’, which generated 4,000+ album sales, including two nights at Outernet.

“Meanwhile, Bombay Bicycle Club joined us for seven events to celebrate the release of ‘My Big Day’, which included six in-store and one out-store events, four of which were karaoke shows that saw the band sign and play BBC classics with the artist as their backing band. This generated over 2,300 album sales.

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