Ed Sheerhan is among the British artists boosting the music industry
The British music industry invested nearly £500m in producing new records and signing and promoting artists last year, according to new figures.
Chart-toppers Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith are among those to have benefited from a boom in the sector, which industry bosses said has become the “envy of the world”.
The latest data, from trade bodies the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Music Publishers Association (MPA), also revealed the number of new acts signed to major labels in 2014 was at a five-year high at 156.
The news follows a report this week which showed the UK music business contributed £4.1 billion to the economy but one in five musicians work for free.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI and BRIT Awards, said: “It’s no fluke that 2014 was such an outstanding year for British music.”
Investment by record labels in artist and repertoire (A&R) development reached a record £178 million, while a further £157 million was spent on marketing by labels.
Music publishers also poured £162 million into the careers of singer-songwriters and composers – taking the total industry outlay to £497 million.
The number of new artist deals signed by Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music, according to the BPI, was 156 in 2014 – up 30% on the 120 signed in 2013 and the highest annual total since 2009, when 164 new deals were signed.
When compared to EU figures on investment in development by other industries, the music sector spent more as a proportion of revenue (25%) than those such as the biotech, pharmaceuticals and auto sectors .
Mr Taylor added: ” Alongside the artists themselves, the passion and commitment labels show in unearthing, nurturing and developing the next wave of talent is one of the main reasons our music is the envy of the world right now.”
Jane Dyball, the CEO of MPA Group, said: ” These investment figures highlight why British music remains so successful on the global stage.
“Importantly, these incredible figures also highlight that music publishers, like record labels, make a very substantial annual investment in A&R, further demonstrating the music industry’s colossal contribution to the financial and cultural wealth of the UK.”
It also comes after figures released in June showed the success of performers including One Direction and Coldplay saw UK albums and singles generate around 2.75 billion US dollars (£1.8 billion) in sales last year.
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