Monday, May 17, 2010

Proportional Non-Dominance of American Music

In a paper called "Pop Internationalism: Has A Half Century of World Music Trade Displaced Local Culture?" Wharton Business School professors Fernando Ferreira and Joel Waldfogel inform us that "trade shares [in music] are roughly proportional to country GDP shares; and relative to GDP, the US music share is substantially below the shares of other smaller countries," which is to say that the U.S. is not disproportionately dominant in the music industry.

The authors also "find no evidence that new communications channels – such as the growth of country-specific MTV channels and Internet penetration – reduce the consumption of domestic music." And they argue, "National policies aimed at preventing the death of local culture, such as radio airplay quotas, may explain part of the increasing consumption of local music."

The figure below shows that most countries export music proportional to their GDP. None of the countries in the data seriously over-export music, whereas a handful -- Japan, Portugal and Argentina, for instance -- do seriously underexport music. (That is, the size of their economies predicts that they would export significantly more music.)

This figure, on the other hand, shows that the U.K. has really taken a nose-dive in terms of cultural relevance. (In fact, to an extent that I find hard to believe.) It portrays the share of the global music trade over time.

(HT: Chris Blattman.)

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