February 10, 2023

Music export

A narrow definition of music export refers to earning music related revenue from another country than one’s own, that is, where one lives, has registered the entity earning the revenue, pays taxes, etc. In a broader sense music export is sometimes taken to refer to internationalisation in general, including other aspects than economic earnings.

See also: revenue, internationalisation

“Music creation and consumption is to a considerable degree international, meaning that much of the music composed, performed, recorded and released in one country also finds its way across borders to other countries, regions and continents – even more so with the advent of Internet and music streaming platforms. This is an important driver of cultural diversity everywhere and cultural exchanges within Europe are especially valuable. Additionally, the movement of music (including its creators and audiences) across borders also generates a set of important revenue streams for national music industries: the latter is what is meant when talking about music export”.

“As music can be disseminated and consumed in many ways, it therefore generates many kinds of revenues, both local and export driven. When artists tour and perform concerts abroad, they get performance fees that are an important export revenue stream. These concerts also generate royalties, thus producing music publishing export revenues. When music recordings get distributed either physically and sold in units at stores, or digitally and consumed in streaming platforms outside of a given country, these generate recorded music export revenues. Furthermore, streaming also generates royalties.” 1

Therefore, music export “happens” when artists, creators, rights holders, music companies, etc. earn music related revenue from outside of their national borders. The main music related export revenue streams are:
1) performance fees for artists performing at festivals and concerts (and the sales of merch after concerts)
2) music publishing royalties generated by the live performances, broadcasting, streaming, synching, etc. of musical works
3) recorded music revenues, from physical sales of records and license fees from digital distribution and use of recordings on streaming services or other digital platforms

In addition to music itself (performances and license for the use of works and recordings), “music related revenue” can also include all sorts of music service fees, commissions, etc. when a music company provides services outside of their own country, whether PR and marketing, social media, synch and music supervision, artist management, etc. In that sense “music export” is as open a term as “music ecosystem” itself.

1 European Commission (2019), Music Moves Europe – A European Music Export Strategy. Final report. Online