The British live music scene is thriving, even as digital has eaten up everything else in the music industry. According to a very interesting new report by UKMusic and VisitBritain released today, the headline number is this: 6.5 million music loving tourists attended a festival or gig  in UK last year, generating spend of £2.2 billion ($3.5 billion) in the process.

The benefits go country-wide, unlike some of the other sectors of tourism which are heavily biased towards London, and supports at least 24,000 jobs each year.

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 10.05.26 AMSome other topline numbers from the study:

  • Direct spend by music tourists — buying tickets, paying for transport and accommodation — was worth £1.3 billion ($2 billion).
  • Further indirect music tourism spend – additional spending along the supply chain generated by music tourists – adds a further £914m ($1.46 billion) making a total spend of £2.2bn
  • The average live music audience is comprised of 41% music tourists
  • Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 10.07.34 AMMusic tourists from overseas spend, on average, £910 ($1,452) while attending festivals and £602 ($960) while attending concerts (average tourist spend is £600)
  • Domestic music tourists spend, on average, £396 ($632) while attending festivals and £87 ($139) while attending concerts
  • Overseas tourists account for 6% of music tourism visits but a huge 20% of music tourism spend
  • London attracts 28% of all music tourists to the UK, with 1.8m visiting the capital
  • Brazilians are the most active music tourists – 15% taking in a performance, followed by Kiwis (12%) and Norwegians (11%).

The methodology is worth mentioning here: The report confined its investigation of music tourism to ticketed live music events held in venues with capacities of at least 1500 that were exclusively centered around live music – Beatles tours of Liverpool, for example, was not included. Domestic music tourists were defined as anyone traveling at least three times their normal commute to attend the concert or festival. For overseas music tourists, only those that purchased a concert or festival ticket from an overseas address prior to the live music event were counted in the study.

Which means likely the economic benefits of live music events is a lot lot higher, if you count the full crowd of people who go to these. All this as digital music has eaten up all other kinds of revenues in the music industry, and that’s why you see artists betting all on live tours these days.

Tags: music, uk