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Top 3 Largest Music Markets

Music is something almost every single country in the world will have deeply ingrained in its culture. Whether it’s an ever-thriving music industry, ancient tribal music roots or a common mutual love for music, music is every amongst us. Similar to the film industry, the music industry will often be responsible for contributing hundreds of millions if not billions towards an economy. But, in which countries is the music industry thriving the most? In this blog, we will be outlining three of the top countries globally where the music industry is rapidly developing year-on-year, and some possible reasons why this may be. 

Alamy 2022
Alamy 2022

The United States Of America 

America, unsurprisingly, has the biggest music industry in the world. The country often considered the epicentre of media and dramatics has a music industry that is ever-growing and showing a regular year-on-year increase. In 2020, the recording industry revenue in America alone reached 8 billion USD, up a whopping 7.5% form the previous year. For an even more incredible perspective, in March 2019 alone, 70% of the songs on Spotify’s Global Top-50 playlist we recorded by US based artists!  

And 8 billion may not seem like a huge amount for the media giant that is the US all considering, however this isn’t including the likes of customer expenses on concert tickets, merchandising and streaming services , B2B licensing cash flows and ad revenues from the likes of radio advertisements and other music related media etc. All of these considered, the music industry in the USA is considered to be valued around 43 billion dollars. That sounds much more realistic!  

The question around why the US music industry is still above all others and growing exponentially year on year has many answers. One may think it could be to do with the sheer volume of media and celebrities from the US, some of the biggest names in music history being from there such as Led Zepplin, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé to name just a few. America also isn’t just a one trick pony as it has been consistently dominating multiple genres including punk, folk, hip hop and funk too. Not to mention the fact Jazz originated in New Orleans in the second half of the 19th century, with people coming from all around the globe to socialize and share their music. It is widely agreed upon that Jazz is a combination of African and European music, but truly originated and saw its explosive growth from New Orleans.  

With the media seeing explosive and unprecedented growth on a daily basis in the USA, we are only going to see the music industry grow more and more. The media giant will dominate the industry for years to come.  


One would not be alone in being surprised at Japan having the second biggest music industry in the world. It is better known for its trades in technology, electric car and fish. However, in 2015 alone for example, the industry generated 2.6 billion dollars, and was ranked second behind the US in global music industry growth rate. As of 2020, the industry is still growing and is worth 272.7 billion Japanese Yen.  

But out of all countries, why is Japan second? After all, Japan has been slower to embrace streaming services than other countries. Japan seems to prefer the conservative approach of compact disks, CDs and vinyl. Would this not make the music industry weaker? The answer is no. There are multiple reasons for this.  

For example, the per capita consumption of music is extremely high, even compared to the US with a standard music album costing 30 dollars in comparison to 16-18 dollars in the US.  Japan also has the largest amount of music retailer stores in the world, over 6000 and 3 quarters of the music being sold in compact disks and vinyl.  

Along with this  

Japan also has a thriving culture for the world-wide sensation of K-pop, being one of the top countries for consumption of this genre of music. Along with this, city pop, Japanese rock and the less known but still hugely popular ‘J-Pop’ is also hugely significant in Japan, with artists like ‘BABYMETAL’ experiencing huge popularity and dominating domestically and internationally in their ticket sales.  

Through and through, Japan’s music industry is only second to one. As we see streaming services slowly but surely being accepted in Japan, it is highly likely we will see it grow even further.  

The United Kingdom 

The UK is home to some of the greatest artists and bands in history. Often widely considered the most famous band in history too, the Beatles. But since many of the legendary bands the UK have produced are from the golden eras of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, is the industry still doing as well as it was today? And which British musicians are topping the charts today? 

The United Kingdom has the 4th biggest music industry in the world only just after Germany and is seeing a stable and expansive year-on-year growth. With the rise in popularity in the last 5 years of niche music genres which originated in the UK such as Grime and British Hip Hop, the UK music industry is seeing unprecedented growth in the last decade. 

Unsurprisingly, in 2020 the UK saw a huge dip in live performances due to the pandemic. However, this wasn’t all bad news for the music industry, as streaming services in the UK double-digit growth rates that year, with current projection expecting revenues to exceed 1.2 billion dollars in the UK by 2025 and streaming services to, of course, be taking the lions share of this value. Furthermore, according to the BPI (British Phonographic Industry), British music commanded a 17.1% share of the global market in 2016, this means that one in every six music albums being sold world wide were British. Due to some of the most popular modern day artists like Adele and Ed Sheeran being Brits, the sheer volume of streams they received alone have greatly propelled the UK’s music industry and with hit after hit, its no wonder Ed Sheeran is the second most streamed musician on Spotify, only second to Drake! 

As the music industry sees regular technological advancement, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg in what has to come. With smartphones and streaming services slowly becoming more and more common in impoverished countries, its possible this list could be vastly different in years to come.