Why the creative industries offer a ripe business opportunity

Could you help drive Britain’s economy by launching a music or fashion start-up?


Britain’s creative industries are booming right now and are funding a sizeable part of the country’s economic recovery thanks to a plethora of desirable creative products that we are showcasing to the world.

Latest government figures show that creative Britain contributes around £71.4bn a year to the UK, which accounts for around 5.4% of the Gross Value Added to the economy as a whole.

A recent report by the Confederation of British Industry has shown that the music and fashion sectors alone bring a massive £24.4bn each year into the country’s bank account.

But if you thought that Britain’s boom in the fashion and music industries was just down to clothing and record sales – think again.

Britain employs around 146,000 people in some 7,482 music-based businesses right across the country, while 816,000 people have jobs in some part of the British fashion industry, giving these two sectors a combined 3% control of the UK jobs market and roughly two-thirds of all creative jobs in Britain.

But in which way do these two industries help to drive the UK economy and what are the potential business opportunities?

The music industry

As this this infographic from The Formations Company shows, Britain is one of just three countries in the world, along with Sweden and the US, to be a net exporter of music.

Around 12.6% of all albums sold worldwide are by UK acts, and for five out of six years between 2007 and 2012 the top-selling album globally was by a British artist.

The demise of record shops has seen much more music emerge digitally, with 55% of UK music trade revenues in the first quarter of 2012 coming from digital downloads, so there are certainly opportunities to capitalise on this growing digital trend.

The online music revolution has also meant that more artists are able to release their music online allowing more people from across the globe to tap into Britain’s rich and varied music scene.

Additionally the diversity of Britain’s music industry means that the proceeds are not concentrated in one national hub, there are also plenty of localised opportunities.

Regionalisation has become part of the fabric of Britain’s music scene with acts such as The Beatles, Oasis and the Arctic Monkeys using their roots in Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield to help strengthen their own identities.

The fashion industry

The British fashion industry pumps in an estimated £21bn into the UK coffers each year, as well as influencing more than £37bn in contributions to the wider financial system through other sectors, making it one of the key motors that drives the economy.

What’s more the industry is growing, with sales of UK designer clothing rocketing up by an estimated 20% each year, according to Oxford Economics.

While London retained its title as the global fashion capital in 2012, the emergence of retro and vintage fashion outlets in the trendy quarters of northern cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, shows that the UK fashion industry need not be centralised in order to be successful.

However it is not just on the high street that the fashion industry is expanding. Online fashion is expected to be worth £7bn by 2015, giving emerging designers and retailers the opportunity to develop a low-cost business that has the potential to really take off.

As we have seen in the music and fashion industries, creative Britain has the power to keep playing a vital role not just in the UK’s cultural growth, but also economic growth for decades to come meaning that those who take the plunge into these sectors could be richly rewarded.



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