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Music industry

Research guide

Published: 12 May 2017 Updated: 06 Sep 2022 Update History

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, subscribers and members.

Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Trends and forecasts

Useful links

Global entertainment and media outlook
PwC's annual in-depth report on advertising and consumer spending covers a variety of different industry sectors, including music. Selected data and commentary on each sector is available free of charge.

The decoupling of Russia: software, media and online services
Post from the European think tank Bruegel which looks at the current picture in the sector and the complex impacts of the decoupling. Published on 22 March 2022.


The impact of the Brexit Trade Deal on music businesses: The first 100 days
Report from the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) assessing the impact of the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) on the UK music industry. The report includes findings from a survey of music businesses carried out between March and April 2021. Published in April 2021.

Beyond Brexit: trade in services
House of Lords select committee report on the future UK-EU relationship on trade in services. Considers the crucial elements in the TCA affecting trade in services between the UK and the EU, together with areas where further agreement is required. Sectors covered: financial services; professional and business services; data and digital trade; the creative industries; research and education. Published 24 March 2021.

The arts after Brexit: the impact of the UK's departure from the EU on its cultural relations with EU members states
Study conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester, in conjunction with Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy, of the impacts of Brexit on the health, confidence, and sustainability of the UK arts and cultural sector. Provides a provisional assessment of the emotional, creative and financial impacts of Brexit and outlines how institutions have reacted to the referendum result and prepared themselves for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Published in November 2020.

Market research

Some free information is available from the following market research specialists, ranging from industry news to executive summaries of the reports.

A full listing of reference products and research reports relating to the music industry across a number of sectors (including musical instruments and the publishing of recorded audio media), with a range of global, country and company level reports. Each report provides a contents listing and a useful executive summary reporting on the key trends in each country report.

Business and industry research specialists offering reports on a wide range of sectors, including sound recording and music publishing. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available. The company also produces global industry research reports.

Report from Mintel covering the UK music and audio industry. The website includes a summary and the option to view a contents listing.

Industry news

The Library can carry out industry news searches for ICAEW members and ACA students.

Statistics on the UK

Entertainment Retailers Association

The Entertainment Retailers Association provides an overview of statistics covering music sales in digital and physical formats by value and volume.

Office for National Statistics

The Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics collects financial information covering UK production, construction, distribution and service industries. Statistics available include:

  • number of enterprises;
  • total turnover;
  • approximate gross value added at basic prices;
  • total purchases of goods, materials and services;
  • total employment – average during the year;
  • total employment costs;
  • total net capital expenditure;
  • total net capital expenditure – acquisitions;
  • total net capital expenditure – disposals;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at end of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at beginning of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – increase during year.

The dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S includes statistics for:

  • Retail sale of music and video recordings in specialised stores (47.63)
    See Division 47: Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
  • Sound recording and music publishing activities (59.20)
    See Section J: Information and Communication

Statistics on Europe


Eurostat, the EU statistics hub, collates detailed Structural Business Statistics giving the latest figures for industry, construction, trade and services by sector and country. The indicators available include:

  • number of enterprises
  • turnover or gross premiums written
  • production value
  • value added at factor cost
  • gross operating surplus
  • wages and salaries
  • social security costs
  • gross investment in tangible goods
  • gross investment in land
  • gross investment in existing buildings and structures
  • gross investment in construction and alteration of buildings
  • gross investment in machinery and equipment
  • number of employees
  • number of persons employed per enterprise.

Statistics within the database are available for:

  • Retail sale of music and video recordings in specialised stores (G4763)
    See database section ‘SBS – trade’
  • Sound recording and music publishing activities (J5920)
    See database section ‘SBS – services’

Statistics on the Americas


The The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) publishes a number of reports providing data on sales and revenue, consumer trends and industry economics for the US. Its US sales database also provides comprehensive data on US recorded music revenues and shipments dating back to 1973.

Global statistics

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)

The IFPI compiles annual statistical surveys and reports on digital and recorded music sales, taxes, charts and other industry topics.


The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) collects and compiles industrial statistics known as INDSTAT, which give information on:

  • number of employees
  • number of establishments
  • output
  • value added
  • total wages and salaries.

Statistics by country are available for:

  • Publishing of recorded media (2213)
  • Reproduction of recorded media (2230)

UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade)

The UN compiles and publishes international import and export statistics in the Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade), giving figures for goods traded by value, quantity and weight for each country.

Statistics are available for:

  • Musical instruments, parts and accessories (92)

UN Industrial Commodity Statistics Database

The UN provides statistics on the quantity of goods produced by country in the Industrial Commodity Statistics Database.

Figures are available for:

  • Pianos and other keyboard stringed musical instruments (38)
  • Other stringed musical instruments (38)

Legislation and regulation

Touring Europe - checklists for the arts, cultural, creative and heritage sectors
Guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport on steps to take when planning a tour of Europe. Includes checklists for musicians and the visual and performing arts sectors.

The arts, culture and heritage sectors and the EU
Guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport for the arts, culture and heritage sectors on working with the EU. Areas covered include employees, data, visiting Europe, services, movement of goods, EU funding, recruiting from outside the UK and the Global Talent visa.



Average employment costs within this sector are available from Table 14 of the Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

The data includes average employment costs for:

  • musical instrument makers and tuners; and
  • musicians.

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.

Import and export

Trade Tariff

The Trade Tariff is a useful Gov.uk database listing tax, duties and licenses for the import and export of goods between the UK and other countries. The database is searchable by product or commodity code and results can be filtered by date and country. Information also includes links to relevant conditions and regulations.

See import and export information for:

UK business guides

Atom Content Marketing guides

The Start Up Donut from Atom Content Marketing provides practical information on starting up and running a number of small business types. Guides cover a range of areas including market research, current trends, regulations, products and services, promotion and pricing. They include:

UK key players, ratios and trends

A range of reports on this sector are available to ICAEW members and ACA students via the Library.

UK benchmarking

The Library can supply benchmarking reports to ICAEW members and ACA students.

Trade bodies

Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Further resources

Music industry guide: British Library
British Library industry guides provide listings of resources for industry-specific information, including print directories and materials held by the British Library.

Contact the British Library Business and IP Centre for more information.

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.

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