Japanese consumers are the biggest music buyers

It is no surprise to hear that the US is the largest music market in the world. Despite sales crumbling in the last couple of years, the US still accounts for around 30% of global spending on recorded-music. What is a little surprising is the fact that the US is only the 10th largest market in the world in terms of per capita spending on music. Despite trailing the US by more than US$2 billion last year in the retail value of recorded-music sales, Japan was the world leader for per capita music spending.

Based on IFPI retail sales figures, Music & Copyright has calculated that per capita music spending in Japan stood at US$42.07 in 2010. Although the value was down 8.5% from the 2009 figure, Japan remained ahead of second-placed Norway, which had a per capita spending figure of US$37.22. The UK was third last year, at US$32.35.

Several of the world’s biggest music markets are also the biggest per capita spenders – Japan and the UK the most obvious examples. But some of the big music markets have a much lower per capita spend level. For example, France had a per capita spend on music last year of US$20.44, less than half of the spending level in Japan. Second-placed Norway’s per capita spend on music was twice that of the Netherlands and Canada. South Korea, which is often considered as a model of how all music markets are going to look like in the future, had a per capita spend level of just US$7.46. It should be noted that South Korea was one of a small number of markets to record an increase in music spending last year.

Of the countries tracked by the IFPI, Peru had the lowest per capita sales figure last year, at just US$0.10. Bulgaria experienced the largest fall in per capita sales, at 40%. Per capita spending was down 35% in Uruguay and 32.6% in Portugal. The largest increase occurred in Slovakia, with spending up 14.7%.

Music & Copyright is a fortnightly research service published by Informa Telecoms & Media.

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