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The Serbian music industry: A growing economic force

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Recent research conducted by the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade sheds light on the significant economic impact of the music industry in Serbia. With nearly 20,000 permanent employees across 29 different sectors, the industry has witnessed remarkable growth, achieving a turnover of 168 million euros in the past year alone—an 89 percent increase compared to five years ago.

Commissioned by the national platform Serbia Creates, in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, this groundbreaking research marks the first comprehensive analysis of the music industry’s economic contributions in the country. Over the past five years, the sector’s gross value added (GVA) has surged by an impressive 202 percent, while VAT growth reached 38 percent compared to the previous year. Taxes and contributions paid by the industry also saw a substantial increase, totaling over 6.5 million euros—a remarkable 84 percent rise from 2018.

The research further reveals significant demographic trends within the industry. The number of permanent employees has surged by 33 percent compared to 2022, with entrepreneurs comprising 84 percent of the 5,838 business entities identified. Notably, individuals aged 30 to 49 represent more than half of the sector’s workforce, with a near-even gender distribution—49 percent men and 51 percent women.

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Zorica Tepić, music advisor at the Serbia Creates platform, emphasized the importance of this research in providing a comprehensive understanding of the music industry and identifying areas for systemic support. By mapping key participants and sectors, the research lays the groundwork for informed decision-making and strategic planning within the industry.

Moving forward, recommendations focus on enhancing support programs, fostering export development, and implementing legal frameworks aligned with international standards. Initiatives to promote music exports, develop professional talent, and support emerging artists are also prioritized.

The Serbia Creates Music platform has already taken proactive steps to address industry challenges, facilitating Serbian music’s presence at prominent European showcase festivals and organizing national competitions to showcase young talent. Additionally, the forthcoming Creative Industries Center “Ložionica” is poised to become a hub for local music development, international collaboration, and educational initiatives—addressing the need for dedicated performance and practice spaces in the industry’s growth trajectory.

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