Where is export income generated?

A second question in analysing global music exports is: Where is the income generated globally? Numerous empirical studies have been conducted to exaxrx- ine patterns of international trade in cultural products. Studies generally find that international media products, on the whole, tend to flow from developed countries to developing countries. Consistent with these findings, research in the recording industry shows that the global music market is dominated by the developed countries, including the USA, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, France and Japan (Alexander, 1994; Bishop, 2005). Moon et al.’s (2010) study, based on a study of tangible music goods (e.g. records, CD, magnetic tape and other recorded media for sound) in 124 different countries, confirmed the imbalance of international music trade between a core group of countries (the USA and European countries including Germany, the UK and the Netherlands) and other countries.

Various reasons have been advanced for this unequal trade flow between countries, including the differing sizes of consumer markets and production as well as trade barriers. For example, Wildman (1995) argues that the USA’s dominance may be due to the relatively large size of its media markets and more favourable policies towards commercialisation. In terms of the international music trade, countries with relatively large and wealthy domestic markets for music products have an advantage in exporting their music goods. This seems to be confirmed by our analysis of statistics on music production and consumption by country. Obtaining reliable statistics on numbers of artists and recordings by country is difficult, but Discogs, a website which claims to be the most comprehensive crowdsourced database of recorded music, shows the ranking of countries seen in Figure 2.3. With some notable exceptions such as China and Brazil, which are highly ranked consumer markets but not so highly ranked in terms of music production, this ranking closely matches the “top 10 music markets globally” according to the IFPI (Figure 2.4), suggesting that countries which are the largest music producers are also the largest consumers.

However, most studies have concluded that in addition to economic factors, other factors (e.g. cultural, religious, linguistic and geographical) are important in explaining and predicting international media trade patterns (Verboord and Brandellero, 2018) . This might explain why Japan, China and Brazil have large consumer markets but are not large producers, while the Netherlands has a small consumer market but is a large producer. Culture, or more precisely, language, also seems to play a role; Australia and Canada, which are both English-speaking nations, have relatively large markets (eighth and ninth largest) despite having relatively small populations. This confirms economic studies of trade that have found that the linguistic distance between countries affects bilateral trade (Hutchinson, 2005) and that linguistic barriers affect trade (Lohmann, 2011). Language is particularly important in the case of music where the international advantages of using English in songs has been a noticeable, and sometimes controversial feature, as can be seen in the number of songs in English in the Eurovision Song Contest by non-English speaking countries (Wolther, 2012) and the examples of artists from non-English speaking countries who have achieved international stardom only after singing in English, for example, the Swedish group, ABBA. There are some indications, however, that the dominance of English language in popular music is diminishing in some emerging markets (Furness, 2019). For example, Latin American markets, where most songs are in Spanish, have shown the greatest growth, with an average growth rate of 17.7% in 2017, assisted by the growth

Ranking of countries according to number of music releases in 2018. Source

Figure 2.3 Ranking of countries according to number of music releases in 2018. Source: Discogs.

Major music markets by retail sales, 2018. Source

Figure 2.4 Major music markets by retail sales, 2018. Source: IFPI, 2019, p. 13.

in music streaming services, which have grown by 48.9% and brought Latin American music to the attention of a wider global audience (MIDEM, 2019).

Apart from South Korea, which has achieved great expoxt success with K-pop (Kelley, 2019), Asian countries have been less successful internationally. In Asia, the local markets are still dominated by local artists singing in the local language. In Japan, it is estimated that over 90% of all live and recording revenues come from domestic acts (Soundcharts, 2019a). One reason for the low penetration of foreign artists may be the huge popularity of karaoke bars which generate a substantial part of the music publishing business in Japan and where most songs are sung in Japanese as most Japanese still do not feel comfortable singing in foreign languages (Soundcharts, 2019a). Another possible factor is the strong reliance of musicians on fan clubs, which tend to favour local artists and where only Korean К-pop bands singing in Japanese appear to have made much impact. In China, NetEase, a major Chinese website which aims to provide a streaming platform for local and international artists in China, estimates that 30% of all activities on the platform is linked to foreign artists (Soundcharts, 2019b). However, in the live music sector, only 11.4% of revenues in 2017 came from international acts. In India, international acts accounted for only 20% of all music consumption in the countiy in 2018, and music consumption is strongly linked to soundtracks of Bollywood films, sung in the local language, which are estimated to account for 80% of all recorded music income in India (Soundcharts, 2019c).

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