Beginner’s Guide on Starting an Arts or Music Business in the United Kingdom

Starting an Arts or Music Business to turn your talent or passion into a successful venture is a great idea. Statistics from the United Kingdom’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport show promising figures for this industry.

In 2019, the music, performing, and visual arts industry had created 315,000 jobs and contributed GBP115.9 billion to the economy.

For those who are looking to venture into the industry, 3E Accounting provides a quick read on starting an art or music business in the United Kingdom.


Art- an Essential Sector

Statistics indicate that more than two million people work in the creative industries in the United Kingdom. This includes the arts and music and is not limited to being artists or musicians. It encompasses a diversified trade portfolio of businesses, including:

  • Galleries
  • Museums
  • Exhibitions
  • Stage Performances
  • Marketing, Public Relations, and Advertising


Business Registration Process

You will need to do your due diligence and write up a business plan for starting an art or music business. This includes doing market research and choosing a business model that appeals to you. Writing up a realistic and scalable business plan is crucial if you want to succeed in any business, regardless of the industry.

Next, consider what type of business vehicle works for you. The United Kingdom ranks within the top ten of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business. One of the reasons for this is the ease of starting a business. You can incorporate your company and be up and running within a day.

There are approximately six million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the United Kingdom. The most popular entities include the sole trader and limited companies. Setting up as a sole trader is fast, easy, and cost-effective. You just need to inform HMRC, the United Kingdom’s tax authority, and get your Unique Tax Reference (UTR).

A limited company, including private and public entities, will need to be registered with Companies House. Registration will require a registered business address, amongst other information. You should also be aware of the pertinent points of the United Kingdom Companies Act 2006 to ensure full compliance.

Once your company is incorporated, it acquires a separate legal identity that protects limited liability to its shareholders. You can also consider an LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership. It offers all the advantages of incorporation but with the flexibility of a partnership.

Other matters to consider include a founders’ and shareholders’ agreement, leasing serviced offices. To enhance your digital presence, you need a website and social media profiles as well.

Here is a complete guide to company registration in United Kingdom.


Licences and Permissions Needed

There are also all types of audit services which an arts and music company needs to go through. It also includes statutory audits. Perhaps the most important consideration is ensuring that all licenses and permits are in place before setting up shop.

Criteria for Getting Licences

It is mandatory to get a license if you:

  • Play recorded music in your public or business, including playing background music through radio, CD, or any music channel
  • Conduct any live concert or stage live events for entertainment purpose
  • Conduct theatre art

This can include approvals to play background music, TV licenses, etc. You may also need to know about import and export regulations. Some art or music-related businesses may require approval from the Export Licensing Unit (ELU).

If you need more information on starting an art or music business in the United Kingdom, get in touch with 3E Accounting, a corporate service provider in the United Kingdom. We offer business solution packages that include company incorporation services, licensing and permits, audit services, and registered business addresses. All you need to start up a business comes in a handy set-up package customized to your preferences. Contact Us today to learn more about our bespoke business solutions.

Starting an Arts or Music Business in the United Kingdom