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Music SEVEN times more valuable to UK plc than first thought

Gov beancounters discover photography, gigs and dance

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Government statisticians and economists have revised their estimates of the value of copyright investment in the UK economy - and found it's worth £3.2bn more than they previously reckoned.

Old figures were biased against copyrighted work and crudely undervalued it. The new figure for music investment alone has increased nearly eightfold from previous calculations.

The study [PDF, 900KB] was conducted by the Office of National Statistics and the Intellectual Property Office with Imperial College.

The 2009 estimate puts the value of copyright at £1.8bn, with the music industry valued at just £176m. Many omissions have been rectified, and the new total figure is £5.089bn. TV and radio are worth £2bn and the music industry £1.33bn.

Amazingly, the old way of counting didn't include live music royalties from music at all; performing rights societies were ignored, as if they didn't exist, even though the PRS (for example) collects and returns over £600m of royalties annually [see PDF].

Other areas were ignored too, including photography, choreographed routines and artwork.

"As people diversified, the national accounts didn't," PRS economist Will Page told us.

"The challenge for national accounts is now more about re-classifying the economic activity than capturing it. Music, for example, contributes more to the UK economy than just buying records and going to gigs. Even those two activities have diversified well beyond their conventional SIC codes."

Music drives enormous value creation on other parts of the economy but rarely gets the credit. Calculating that fairly remains an issue for the beancounters, Page notes: "The problem is that the broader contribution of music to the economy will be captured in GDP but simply not classified under music."

Better all round? Certainly, yes - but it wouldn't be a Quilty-era IPO document without some hallmark meanness. The authors, who include former Soros scholar Benjamin Mitra-Khan – author of the notorious Hargreaves economic impact assessment that measured only the benefits of his proposals, but not any costs – point out that many professional artists have second jobs. Evidence by copy-fighting ideologues Martin Kretschmer and Lionel Bently is produced to support this, and a figure of £272m produced. Given the IPO's agenda, this group won't be troubling the statisticians for very much longer. ®

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