Music Industry Guide

music industry

Here you will find sources of information such as market research (statistics, trends, developments), key companies, trade magazines, newsletters, and Internet sources.

This guide will be useful to anyone starting a business within the music industry and also for those wanting to further their knowledge within this area.


Start-Up Information


COBRA logo

The Cobra database contains practical fact-sheets on all aspects of starting, running and managing a small business – including information on writing business plans, marketing, company structures etc.

It also covers the practical aspects of how to start and run particular types of businesses – outlining necessary skills, regulations, licences and legislation etc. and highlights other sources of information and advice available.


Business Opportunity Profiles (BOP)

Audio-visual Equipment Hire BOP210
DJ and Mobile Disco Service BOP006
Entertainment Agent BOP375
Independent Record Label BOP204
Music Shop BOP018
Musician BOP205
Private Music Tutor BOP054
Record Shop BOP520
Rehearsal and Recording Studio BOP390


Business Information Fact Sheets (BIF)

Licence to Play Music on Business Premises BIF488
Using the Copyright of Others BIF157
Using Copyright to Protect Your Work BIF218


Sector Update (SEC)

Music SEC004



Market Research & Statistics 

If you are planning on starting a business you will need to be aware of the latest trends, developments and opportunities within your industry which can all be found from market research.

Market research also covers market size and forecasts, consumer demographics and attitudes, the key players and products and will often include SWOT and PEST analysis showing areas of strength, weakness, opportunities etc.


IBISWorld logo

  • Musical Instrument Retailers in the UK
  • Radio Broadcasting in the UK
  • Sound Recording & Music Publishing in the UK


Mintel logo

  • Leisure Review (Inc Impact of COVID-19)
  • Music Concerts and Festivals 
  • Music and Other Audio – CDs, Streaming, Downloads & Podcasts


EMIS logo

  • United Kingdom Online Music Streaming 2019
  • Earphones Headphones Market – Global Outlook and Forecast 2020-2025
  • Europe Music Streaming Market Forecast to 2027
  • Global Online Music Streaming 2019
  • True Wireless Headphones Market – Global Outlook 2020-2025
  • United States Online Music Streaming 2019


Local Data Online

Provides a birds-eye view of the makeup and complexity of the retail and leisure offering in a chosen location.

Review key trends over time:

  • Vacancy rates
  • Occupancy trends
  • Retail mix

Understand demand profiles through demographic data such as:

  • Employment statistics
  • Average weekly earnings
  • Crime rates
  • Unemployment
  • House prices

Also, contact details and individual reports of companies in the digital communications industry are available from our electronic sources: Market IQ.


Online Market Research Reports

The Economic Impact of Music un Europe 2020 (IFPI, 2020) Free Online
Analysis of the economic aspects of music’s vital contribution to the economies of the European Union and the UK.

Global Music Report: 2019 (IFPI, 2019)
Report giving the latest news, developments and trends within the international recording industry. 2019 edition freely available online (excluding the global data statistics).

Live Music (UK Parliament, House of Commons, DCMS, 2019) Free Online
Government produced report on the UK live music industry. Covers the benefits of live music, problems in the ticketing market, challenges facing music venues, threats to the talent pipeline etc. Including conclusions and recommendations.

Measuring Music (UK Music, 2018) Free Online
UK Music is an industry-funded body that represents and promotes the interests of every part of the British music industry. This report provides an insight into the huge contribution the UK music industry makes to the UK economy.

Music By Numbers 2020 report (UK Music, 2020) Free Online
UK Music is an industry-funded body that represents and promotes the interests of every part of the British music industry. Report giving an insight into the British music industry and its huge contribution to the UK economy.

Music Listening 2019 (IFPI, 2019) Free Online
Provides a snapshot of how worldwide music consumers are connecting with recorded music (formerly IFPI Music Consumer Insight Report).

Music Tourism: Wish You Were Here 2017 (UK Music, 2017) Free Online
UK Music is an industry-funded body that represents and promotes the interests of every part of the British music industry. The report features both national and regional figures and reveals the huge impact of music tourism on the UK economy.

Securing Our Talent Pipeline 2018 (UK Music, 2018) Free Online
UK Music is an industry-funded body that represents and promotes the interests of every part of the British music industry. This report tries to outline the solutions to the problem of nurturing, promoting and maintaining new acts for the future.

The UK Festival Market Report 2018 (Festival Insights + UK Festival Awards, 2018) Free Online
Examination of consumer demographics, preferences and behaviour based on research undertaken from a sample of festival goers. Includes attendees’ opinions on music, ticket prices, improvements required etc.

UK Music Diversity Report 2020 (UK Music 2020) Free Online
Report giving the state of play regarding diversity and inclusion within the UK music industry,

Valuing Live Music: UK Live Music Census 2017 (Emma Webster, Matt Brennan, Adam Behr and Martin Cloonan with Jake Ansell, 2018) Free Online
Report analysing the results taken from the UK’s first national live music census. Gives information on the economic, social and cultural value of live music. Covers challenges within the sector with conclusions and recommendations.


Business News & Journals

In order to find the latest news on your topic it is always worth searching NewsBank and EMIS.

You will find articles from specialist business and academic journals, as well as newspapers and magazines. You may also find market research reports and case studies. As well as profiles of leading industry figures.

You will also find articles covering recent developments, and predicting future trends in your industry.



Contain lists of companies and industry contacts. Some have annual industry reviews, and specialist articles.



Internet Sources

Websites containing free sources of industry statistics, information and contacts.

The Academy of Contemporary Music

Provides training to musicians and other music professionals.

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) 

Provides graded music examinations, and offers CPD opportunities and support to professional music teachers.

The Association of Independent Music (AIM) 

A trade body for UK-based independent record companies, artists, labels and distributors. It provides basic guidance on how to start an independent record label as well as news and developments in the industry. The website contains a searchable directory of distributors.

The Audio Engineering Society 

A professional society devoted exclusively to audio technology. For engineers, students, scientists etc. Involved in the creation and maintenance of international standards in the areas of digital and analog audio engineering, communications technology, acoustics, media preservation and creative practice etc.

The Ivors Academy of Music Creators (Formerly The British Academy Of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) 

Supports and protects the artistic, professional, commercial and copyright interests of songwriters, lyricists and composers of all genres of music.

The British Copyright Council 

Umbrella organisation bringing together organisations representing those who create, or hold rights in, literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and those who perform such works.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) 

Represents the UK recorded music industry, including record companies and labels, as well as music manufacturers and distributors. It provides industry information, lobbies the Government on issues relating to the promotion of music in the UK and to music piracy.

Careers In Music 

Explains various music business roles and careers and gives advice, facts, addresses and contacts etc.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) 

The Government department responsible for policy on the music industry.

The DJ Academy Organisation 

Provides training at venues across the UK for prospective DJs.

The Entertainment Agents Association

A trade association for entertainers’ agents. It offers guidance on operating an agency and its members are bound by a strict Code of Conduct.

The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) 

A trade organisation that represents retailers of recorded music, video, DVD and multimedia products.

Festival Insights 

An online B2B publication focussed on the international festival industry.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) 

A professional body that represents the interests of musicians and tutors in the UK. It publishes information sheets giving guidance on professional careers in music, and has established a code of conduct and ethics for tutors.

The Independent Music Companies Association (IMPALA) 

A trade association for Europe’s independent music companies.

The Intellectual Property Office 

The official government organisation that provides information and advice on all areas of intellectual property issues, including copyright for music.

The International Artist Managers’ Association (IAMA) 

The only worldwide association for classical music artist managers and concert agents.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) 

Represents the worldwide recording industry and works to promote the value of recorded music. Has many free resources including market research and directory of digital music services worldwide.

The Music Industries Association (MIA) 

The sole UK trade association servicing and representing the interests of all UK businesses selling musical instruments and associated products.

Music Producers Guild UK (MPG) 

Mostly a membership site but with some free content including its directory of members and contacts. For everyone involved in the production of music and sound in all media, from student trainees through to working professionals. Has hints and tips for the recording process and a free directory of producers, engineers, mixers, etc. You can view the Members Directory online.

The Music Publishers Association (MPA) 

A non-profit organisation representing music publishers in the UK. It exists to safeguard their interests, and those of the writers signed to them.

Music Teachers UK 

Searchable directory of music tutors in the UK, as well as publishing a number of resources and guides to assist music tutors and teachers.

Music Think Tank

A group blog giving news, information, articles and advice covering all aspects of the music industry.

Music Week Directory 

A subscription only directory of companies operating in the UK music and media industry, including record companies, music publishers, managers and recording studios.

The Musicians’ Union

Works to promote the interests of all types of musicians. Their website provides news and information related to working, performing, legal issues, finance, contracts, training etc. and includes a directory of musicians available for recording, gigs and teaching.

The National Association of DJs (NADJ) 

Provides support for its members, including discounts, advertising on the association’s website and the chance to interact with other DJs.

The Official Charts Company 

Compiles and lists the UK’s top 40 chart. With chart news, artist interviews, new releases etc.

Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and Video Performance Limited (VPL) 

Oversee the distribution of royalties to artists whose work is played in public.

The Production Services Association (PSA) 

The trade body for businesses involved in live events. The Association aims to lobby on behalf of the industry and raise technical and safety standards.

PRS for Music 

The collection society for royalties earned from the copying and performing of copyrighted materials. It is an amalgamation of the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and Performing Right Society (PRS) (MCPS-PRS Alliance). They administer the performing rights in the musical works of its members who comprise composers, songwriters and music publishers. PRS licences are required by concert halls, dance halls, public houses, hotels and restaurants, ships, aeroplanes and anywhere else where copyright music is played in public. Any broadcaster using music, and anyone putting copyright music on the Internet, must also be licensed.


DJ hints and tips website, targeted more towards club DJs. Including sections on how to choose equipment and hints on playing live.

Record of the Day 

A news service that provides music industry news to subscribers.


A website for producers, recording studios, studio and recording equipment worldwide. Has interviews, blogs, forums, equipment reviews, recording tips etc. and includes a directory of recording studios.

The School of Sound Recording 

Provides courses in audio engineering, live sound, post production, electronic music production, remixing and DJ skills.

Sound And Music 

The national charity for new music in the UK. Promotes new music from digital platforms to live events and gives information on funding, awards and commissions. Has several free Toolkits which provide guides and resources for composers and producers giving advice on numerous topics such as funding, promotion, publishing etc.

The Unsigned Guide 

A subscription based industry reference tool for signed/unsigned artists containing information and contact details of record companies, publishing companies, artwork, creative and design companies, recording studios, promoters, venues and industry associations. Includes many free practical fact-sheets and articles giving advice on recording, playing live, blogging and promotions, managers etc.

UK Music 

The umbrella organisation which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry – from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to record labels, music managers, music publishers, studio producers and music licensing organisations. With news, information, market research reports, career information and advice.

The Vocalist 

Provides sample contracts and information on setting up as an entertainers’ agent.

WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation)

WIPO PROOF is a new digital service that provides a tamper-proof date and time-stamped digital fingerprint of any file, proving secure evidence that a creation existed at a given point in time – which can be verified by anyone. It can be used to prove that a piece of music, song, lyric, sketch, or other original creation existed before someone else’s and can be used in resolving legal disputes and preventing misuse and misappropriation.


Please note that every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however some recently acquired items may since have been added to the collection. Please ask for help at the enquiry desk.

Images by Ziaad Khan, Jeremy O’Hare, fensterbme under a Creative Commons license

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