Music Consumption on a Global Scale
When most music listeners think of the music industry, American, Canadian, and English artists normally come to mind. The American music industry is without a doubt the largest and highest earning music industry throughout the world. However, the music industries from many other countries throughout Europe, Asia, and South America are also very successful in terms of the content that is released and the revenue its artists generate. While every industry is similar in that it contains many artists that are trying to get their message across, the overall dynamic can differ greatly within each country
Japan is the second largest music market in the world behind the United States. There are many reasons behind the industry’s success, such as its unique cultural patterns and how the industry impacts the market structure, all of which set Japan’s music industry aside from Western music industries. However, the main difference between Japan and the Western music industry is the country’s remaining attachment to physical CD’s as opposed to digital streaming. The release of a mainstream CD is advertised heavily through billboards on the buildings and vehicles in Tokyo, radio, television, and in music shops. When an artist releases their first physical album, it is seen as a major event in their career. Additionally, each music industry throughout the world sets different standards to achieve gold, platinum, and diamond status. In Japan, however, the highest certification is called “Multi-Million” rather than diamond, which is achieved by surpassing 2 million sales on any particular album or single, followed by Million, which is worth 1 million sales, Platinum, which ranges between 250,000 and 750,000 sales, and lastly, Gold, which is approximately 100,000 sales. To achieve these standards in the Japanese music industry, each artist must work hard to create the best content they can and heavily promote their music to the country, thus showing the hard work and determination that Japanese artists maintain.
The German music industry has seen a significant amount of growth within the first half of 2019. Through audio streams, downloads, CDs and vinyl sales, the industry generated approximately 800 million US dollars. The main reason Germany’s music industry is so successful (and is in fact, the third largest recorded music market in the world) is because physical copies of music such as CD’s and vinyls are able to coexist with the new methods of music listening that has developed throughout the digital age. Germany is also the homebase to Soundcloud and LANDR, two music websites that people can use to not only listen to music, but to share their own creations and have them mastered through the website as well. Many artists both within and outside of Germany utilize these services because they help artists by giving them an easy platform to distribute their music and assisting them in delivering higher quality tracks through their mastering services. They also help artists gain exposure as people continue to listen to their content. Through the coexistence of physical and digital music, and these music industry websites that can help elevate lesser known artists, Germany has proven to be a very successful music market.
South Korea’s music industry has been expanding a great amount as K-pop becomes more popular to international fans. However unlike Western artists, K-Pop artists (called idols) generate revenue not only through their music but through their merchandise and other digital content, such as reality TV shows, and documentaries or docu-series. Many K-Pop artists also release physical versions of their albums that include photo cards and collectible items to intrigue fans. These artists also participate in weekly music shows to perform and compete against each other, and often appear in Korean variety shows, interviews, commercials, and campaigns. Additionally, Korea is involved in the cultural enterprise Tencent. Originally established by China, this conglomerate corporation specializes in various internet-related services such
as software development, artificial intelligence, and entertainment. This company has made several agreements with large music producers such as SONY and YG Entertainment (Korean entertainment company) to protect streaming services that offer copyrighted music, therefore allowing higher quality content to be shared throughout Asia and the global market. With these services provided by Tencent and the heavy promotional activities that are done by the artists, Korea’s music industry only continues to grow on the global scale.
The French music market has also seen a significant amount of growth in recent years. With it being the fifth largest music market in the world, most of its acquired revenue comes from online music streaming and downloads. Although the industry experienced some drops in revenue throughout recent years, streaming income has reached approximately 243 million euros. Streaming is the main form of listening to music in France, as approximately 70% of consumers stream their music rather than downloading it. As French society has been fully integrated into the digital age, more people continue to listen to their favorite artists online through streaming platforms. France also has their own music streaming service called Deezer. Similar to Spotify, it allows users to listen to content released by big music labels such as Universal, Warner Music Group, and SONY. This service has aided in the growing use of streaming in France and has helped consumers become more exposed to high quality and original content. In France, the certifications to achieve gold, platinum, and diamond status are a little lower than Japan. For gold, an artist must achieve 50,000 sales, for platinum, 100,000, and for diamond, 150,000 sales. As approximately 1500 streams is equivalent to one album sold, through consistent streaming of their music, French artists can achieve these certifications for their music and contribute to the growing music market of the country.
Similarly to France, Brazil’s main method of consuming music is through streaming. After many years that yielded little success, streaming has revitalized Brazil’s music industry and has brought it back to be one of the top music markets in the world. According to the President of SONY Music Brasil, the shift to digital music occurred very quickly, and after only a year of acquiring all of the physical sales operations, he outsourced all companies that sell physical music and switched to digital sales. As more streaming platforms became available to Brazilians, a whole generation of consumers that turned to Youtube and piracy to acquire their favorite songs were able to stream them through Spotify and Napster. Another notable feature of Brazil’s music market is that it has a specialized market for EDM music. There are a variety of popular EDM festivals throughout the country that occur annually such as Electric Daisy Carnival Brazil and Tomorrowland. This has helped increase the success of Brazil’s music industry as it attracts not just Brazilians, but international EDM fans as well. The EDM scene in Brazil has been influenced by the popularity of Brazilian night club music, as well as acts from overseas. Overall, Brazil has greatly expanded in recent years to hold a position as one of the biggest music markets in the world, and one of the most successful EDM markets.
Each country’s music industry has a different dynamic and offers a variety of services to help both artists and their audience. As the digital era is ushered in with multiple corporations offering music streaming services to listeners, some countries still prefer to purchase the classic CDs and vinyls. Each country also holds the amount of success their artists obtain at different levels, as shown by the varying certifications and the requirements to achieve them. However, regardless of how each country’s society prefers to listen to music, it is clear that music serves as a universal form of entertainment that anyone can enjoy.