Music industry accounting

Tax advice for music businesses


If there’s one thing the North West of England is known for, it’s music, from New Order to the Hallé Orchestra. We’ve got some of the world’s best recording studios and music producers, and – you know it’s true – the coolest bands in the world.

As specialist accountants for musicians, Alchemy provides tax services and advice to individual musicians, whether they’re session singers, talented songwriters or instrumentalists for-hire.

We also handle accounting for musicians in bands, helping them stay on top of the income from recording, performing and touring, and on top of their tax bills.

The music industry is about more than musicians – our clients include music studios, gig venues, indie record labels and innovative tech startups with music as their focus.

Some want a music accountant to help lay the foundations of a successful business, such as reliable bookkeeping or the preparation of thorough management accounts.

Others need strategic advice – for example, is it best for a musician or producer to operate as a sole trader, or offer their services through a limited company?

Allowable expenses for musicians

When it comes to tax planning for musicians, knowing what is and isn’t an allowable expense is the key to keeping bills under control.

Your agent’s commission is usually considered an allowable expense by HMRC, for example, as is the cost of hiring a musician to accompany you in performance. Hotel accommodation on tour is another that often gets overlooked, as are complimentary tickets to gigs for publicity purposes.

We can also help with accounting for royalty revenue, interpreting statements from record companies, publishers and distributors to ensure you’re getting paid your fair share and are paying the right amount of tax on your earnings.

If you work in production, you might also be eligible for research and development tax relief. If you’re undertaking innovative research to solve a problem through technology, this is well worth looking into – and something too many in the music industry forget to claim.

Accounting for record labels

If you’re running an independent record label by yourself or in a small team, the likelihood is you’re taking on several different roles – acting as manager, agent, promoter and more. But you probably didn’t start your own label to act as its accountant, which is where we can help.

Accounting for royalties is an essential task for your record label, as you need to get an accurate picture of the amount artists are earning, and provide clear royalty statements. We can support you in setting up a transparent and efficient system for this.

We’ll also help with the day-to-day minutiae of running your record label, including recording your financial transactions with suppliers and submitting tax returns.

Music industry tax advice

Working in music isn’t usually a matter of nine-to-five, seven days a week. Income can be unpredictable. Fortunately, our tax planning service for musicians is designed to smooth the bumps between months and years, taking advantage of tax breaks for creatives to spread your tax bill.

And if you’re an overseas music artist recording, touring or working in the UK, we can help you deal with HMRC’s foreign entertainers unit (FEU), providing all the paperwork and advice you need to have constructive discussions with the UK tax authorities.

Online accounting for musicians

Because musicians, producers and others in the industry are often mobile, going from recording to studio to venue to overseas performances, we strongly advise the use of cloud accounting software.

Wherever you are in the UK or around the world, it provides fast access to your financial records and allows you to keep track of ongoing expenses from your laptop or smartphone.

Next steps

Call us today on 01772 965550 or use the contact form below to find out more about our music industry accounting service.

We advise on…

  • Bookkeeping for recording studios
  • Music industry tax planning
  • UK tax for foreign musicians
  • Music royalty accounting

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Let's talk about how Alchemy can help your business.