Some countries are known for coffee, some for oil, some for consumer electronics...

Which countries' music industries contribute the most to their economies, as a percentage of their GDP? (Let's say top 5).

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    I think you should expand this question a bit. I'll try to explain what I mean as simple as I can: if a song 'contributes' 1m dollars to the USA economy, that might be like the 1% of the economic income of the US. BUT, if a song from a third world country 'contributes' 0.5m dollas to the economy, that could be like 20% of the poor country. Which one do you find more contributing? Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 16:25
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    I did say as a percentage of their GDP in the question text... is that what you mean?
    – user16
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 16:26
  • Please note I am marked for deletion so may not be around to accept any answer; if so, so any bonus will be limited to whatever is awarded automatically: stackoverflow.com/help/bounty
    – user16
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 9:12

1 Answer 1


This is an interesting question, but I suspect the answers will be hard to come by without very dedicated research. I found the data for US GDP by Industry on this page.

I'm not expert in this stuff, but in that file, potentially music related data comes in two categories: "Performing arts, spectator sports, museums, and related activities" and "Motion picture and sound recording industries" There's nothing broken out as specifically as music.

If the US doesn't publish data more specifically, odds are not great that you'll find enough other countries that publish it to land at a reliable answer. (FWIW, the combined contribution of those two industries to the US GDP has increased steadily since 1997 and in 2013 was about 1.2% of the overall GDP).

Related to that, many studies of this general area roll up music into the general "creative industries" or "copyright-based industries."

Here are some potentially useful resources that don't exactly answer the question

As the countries represented in that list shows, this searching is certainly limited by my searching in English, but that's all I got.

(Related to one of the comments on your original question, some studies, including possibly the above, have various models for multiplying or other add-on effects to get to a more impressive number. For example, music festivals also stimulate the tourism economy, etc, so advocates will take some credit for that when trying to estimate the economic importance of music.)

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    To stretch a point - no doubt the Beatles museum in Liverpool contributes to the tourist industry - but how closely does that relate to 'music' itself? ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 15:26
  • Yep. Just another reminder that there's no such thing as "raw data". Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 15:27
  • @Tetsujin There are several Beatles museums in Liverpool, plus Beatles-themed bus tours, hotels etc.
    – DaveP
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 18:56
  • @DaveP I've only seen the one, at Albert Dock - but it was just to point out how difficult some of this data is to measure
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 18:58
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    @Tetsujin Absolutely, I was agreeing with you.
    – DaveP
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 19:26

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