Friday, May 14, 2010

Globalization Kills Local Culture

Pop Internationalism: Has A Half Century of World Music Trade Displaced
Local Culture?

Fernando Ferreira & Joel Waldfogel, NBER Working Paper, May 2010

Abstract: Advances in communication technologies over the past half century have made the cultural goods of one country more readily available to consumers in another, raising concerns that cultural products from large economies – in particular the US – will displace the indigenous cultural products of smaller economies. In this paper we provide stylized facts about the global music consumption and trade since 1960, using a unique data on popular music charts from 22 countries, corresponding to over 98% of the global music market. We find that trade volumes are higher between countries that are geographically closer and between those that share a language. Contrary to growing fears about large- country dominance, trade shares are roughly proportional to country GDP shares; and relative to GDP, the US music share is substantially below the shares of other smaller countries. We find a substantial bias toward domestic music which has, perhaps surprisingly, increased sharply in the past decade. We 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. 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.

Wow, Canada: How much BNLs, Shania, Alanis, and Neil Young can you play in a day?

(Nod to Kevin L)


Anonymous said...

Your comment regarding Cancon was accurate at one point when Gordon Lightfoot and Anne Murray played in high rotation. These days on Canadian radio stations we have a lot of tremendous music (much of which doesn't get exported to commercial stations south of the border). Sadly there are exceptions to the tremendous label (Celine Dion, Nickelback).

The fact that you can only name 4 doesn't mean that we can only name 4.

Mungowitz said...

Well, now, radio stations also don't play good AMERICAN music, for the most part.

If Canadian music were good, you wouldn't need a quota, pumpkin.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of American (and British) music gets played in Canada. CanCon just creates some space for domestic artists to get some exposure.

I think this is the one area where the consumers don't suffer much from protectionism in terms of cost/quality since most music is largely interchangeable.

Unknown said...

I wonder how much online services like Pandora are going to change that too. In the past 6-8 months I have developed a deep and abiding love for quite a few bands I had never heard of, many of which are from the Netherlands or Italy, of all places. I figure there has got to be someone in Ohio currently thinking "This Balinese jam band rocks!" Perhaps low to nonexistant distribution costs and other lower barriers to entry will be a real boon for smaller musicians. I can't imagine how it wouldn't be.