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One in five UK musicians 'work for free'

Published 05/11/2015

Figures show around a third of all UK musicians are not paying into a pension scheme.
Figures show around a third of all UK musicians are not paying into a pension scheme.

Just over one in five musicians in the UK work for free, despite the music industry contributing £4 billion to the economy.

Figures also show around a third of all UK musicians are not paying into a pension scheme.

The findings were part of the Measuring Music report, which is published annually by UK Music, the organisation representing the collective interests of the commercial music industry.

Writing in the report, UK Music's chief executive, Jo Dipple, said: "While the final figures of the survey are impressive, the UK Music survey of musicians revealed that 35% of them are not paying into pension schemes, and 21% of them had undertaken work for free during the past year with the aim of furthering their career."

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale hailed the music industry's £4 billion contribution in his foreword to the report, and expressed his dedication to ensuring "British music continues to thrive".

He wrote: "It (the music industry) creates wealth and jobs as well as providing entertainment to millions. UK Music's Measuring Music is extremely useful in describing the economic impact of commercial music.

"Its publication coincides with a round table meeting that I am hosting with a wide range of representatives from across the music industry to discuss how we can ensure that British music remains at the top of the charts.

"As Secretary of State, I want to do all I can to ensure that British music continues to thrive."

The report shows that the music sector grew by 5% in 2014, and was worth £4.1 billion to the UK economy - up from £3.8 billion in 2013.

This is almost double the 2.6% growth shown by the economy as a whole.

Last year, one in seven of all artist albums sold across the world were from British artists.

The global success of musicians like Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, One Direction and Pink Floyd has also spurred on the export of UK music, with export growth at 17% in 2014.

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