1995 is the greatest year in music


Always upwards - the worldwide export of cultural goods rose from 1994 to 2002 by almost 20 to 50.1 billion US dollars. The strongest draft horse: AV media.


Global trade in cultural goods is growing steadily: from 1994 to 2002, world exports of books, newspapers and periodicals, music, visual arts and audiovisual media rose by a good 17 billion to 50.7 billion US dollars. Only in 2001 there was a small slump - from 47.1 billion US dollars in the previous year to 44.7 billion, which was more than made up for in the following year. In every single category (books, music, etc.) the volume increased in an eight-year comparison.

The largest sector by all means is music with world exports of 12.56 billion US dollars in 1994 and 18.51 billion in 2002, followed by books (8.44 billion in 1994, 10.84 billion in 2002). The visual arts is the third largest sector at $ 6.69 billion and $ 9.74 billion in 1994/2002. The greatest growth was recorded by audiovisual media, overtaking newspapers and periodicals: in fact, global exports of newspapers and periodicals fell (after a jump from 3.8 billion US dollars in 1994 to 4.9 billion in 1995) to 4.2 billion US dollars Dollars in 2000 to recover slightly to 4.4 billion by 2002.

In the books category, development stagnated after a sharp increase in exported works from 1994 to 1996 by almost two billion to 10.4 billion US dollars. From 1996 to 2002 exports rose by just under 500 million US dollars.

The situation is different with audiovisual media: the triumph of digital media with computer games and the globalization of culture, which is leading to growing interest in, for example, Asian cultural goods, is expressed in rapid growth in global exports. Within eight years it increased sixfold, from 1.59 billion US dollars in 1994 to 7.22 billion US dollars in 2002, albeit with a drop of almost two billion US dollars from 1999 to 2000.

Worldwide exports of music (recorded media) also rose by 50 percent from 12.6 billion US dollars (1994) to 18.5 billion in 2002. The industry experienced a peak of 2000 with 19.1 billion US dollars a slump of over a billion in 2001. This was, however, absorbed again by 500 million in 2002. The large sales losses in the music industry in the wake of CD burners and MP3 online file sharing sites are not yet apparent in the statistics, as these only became apparent after 2002. Finally, the visual arts grew steadily overall, a good third overall, from $ 6.69 billion in 1994 to $ 9.74 billion in 2002.

Data Source

Unesco Institute for Statistics (UIS): International Flows of selected cultural goods and services 1994-2003, p. 67, Annex I, Table III-1. Status: 2005. At: www.uis.unesco.org

Terms, methodological notes and reading aids

The UNESCO study distinguishes between cultural "core goods" (such as a CD with music) and "related goods", i.e. goods and services that are used in the production of "core goods" (such as an empty CD or advertising for a product) . The graphic shows a selection of five of the seven core assets listed by UNESCO:
  • Music (in the original: "recorded media"): audio media with cultural content on it, such as records, magnetic tapes or CDs.
  • Books (in the original: "books"): printed books, brochures, including children's books.
  • Fine arts (in the original: "visual arts"): paintings, but also other visual works of art such as lithographs, prints, sculpture.
  • Audiovisual media (in the original: "audiovisual media"): video games, photographs, films
  • Newspapers and periodicals (originally "newspapers and periodicals").
The categories "heritage goods", ie antiques and collectibles, as well as "other printed matter", ie maps, postcards, printed notes, posters and art prints, were not included. The data are based on the United Nations Comtrade database, which at the time of the study recorded around 160 nations and thus over 90% of world trade.