The world’s hottest digital markets: a music map

Record labels’ new-found enthusiasm for ending their iTunes dependence has created an opportunity for new digital music services.

I picture the market like a game of Risk. Every week, the likes of Spotify, Rdio and Deezer are racing in to new countries with a new model — unlimited subscription access to millions of songs.

But, as the services embark on this VC-funded globalisation, which are the world’s most competitive, most lucrative and most digital music markets? Our clickable map has the details…


  • In China, digital music sales are a high proportion of the total (73 percent) because CD piracy is rife, unmonetised, in Asia.
  • The UK is the world’s most competitive market, with 73 licensed digital services operating.
  • Some Latin American countries have few music services, making iTunes Store, which recently rolled out there, influential.
  • CDs still sell well in Germany and France, thanks partly to high sales of classical music.
  • In the U.S. now, a majority of trade revenue from recorded music comes from digital – a globe-topping $2.2 billion.

Data sources: IFPI Digital Music Report 2011, Pro Music (Mar 2012), and services.