Music is a global market. Australian musicians tour and sell recordings overseas. Many international acts are popular in Australia.

Learn more about Australia’s place on the international stage and how Australian music sells at home.

Get the facts on trade in music royalties, key export markets and international touring.

Australia’s global ranking

Australia is the sixth largest music market in the world, representing three percent of the total global music market

The USA and Japan are the biggest markets for recorded music in the world, together representing more than half of all sales of recorded music in 2011. Australia ranks sixth in terms of recorded music market size, slightly ahead of Canada.


Competitiveness of Australian musicians
Global  -  Music

Japanese artists are big in Japan, but US and British artists are big in Australia.

Our market favours international acts, with just 16 Australian artists making the Top 100 singles in ARIA’s End of Decade Singles (2000-2009).


The Australian market favours international artists, to a higher degree than do other markets such as the USA, UK and Canada

International acts dominate the top selling albums in Australia.

Local acts accounted for 30 of the national top 100 albums in 2010, up from 26 in 2009, led by Angus and Julia Stone’s Down the Way at #7. In contrast, local acts account for around 50 percent of the top albums in France, Germany and Japan.

Australia ranks 34th in a list of 48 markets in terms of the proportion of local products in our recorded music market, with just 25 percent of physical products sold originating in Australia. This places us slightly behind our most comparable market, Canada.

The PPCA’s ‘most played’ lists reflect a similar picture – showing an average of 24 Australian recordings in the top 100 between 2005 and 2011 – and just an average of two in the top 10.


Few Australian artists achieve the success of international stars, but the past fifteen years have seen Australian artists increase in popularity

Over the long term, the proportion of Australian works represented in Australian record sales appears to be increasing, based on indicative estimates compiled from record industry reports to ARIA.[1]

However, the proportion fluctuates markedly from year to year, depending on particular artists’ popularity at a given time.

Analysis of Australia’s ‘most played’ lists suggests that Australian representation peaked in 2008, with 28 tracks in the Top 100 most played tracks, and 19 artists in the Top 50 most played artists.

[1]   Figures are based on reporting by record companies to ARIA, and do not constitute an analysis of total Australian sales. These figures should be viewed as indicative only.


Key international markets

Australia’s key export markets are the USA, UK and Europe

The key international markets for performance and broadcast of Australian music were the USA, UK and Europe.


Whilst large in size, there are challenges in relation to the Japanese music market

Recent Austrade profiles of music export opportunities focus on potential opportunities in Japan.

According to Austrade, the proportion of international music products sold in Japan is low (17%) and declining, with international acts struggling to establish themselves in the Japanese market.



Australia’s major performing arts organisations perform to international audiences in Asia, Europe and North America

In 2010, three MPA organisations presented 38 music performances abroad. The number of performances has dropped below 2008 and 2009 levels – with the global financial crisis impacting on many companies’ touring plans.

Most music performances were presented in Asia and Europe – in contrast to the theatre organisations who toured mostly to North America.

Whilst the number of chamber music performances exceeded symphony orchestra performances – the latter attracted a larger audience – with over 22,000 people attending nine performances in Europe.

Figure 26 - International music performances by MPA organisations

AsiaEuropeNorth America
Chamber music - 20102204461176821121200
Symphony orchestra - 20100001922803000


Trade in music royalties

Historically Australians have paid more music royalties to overseas artists than they have received in return

In 2008-09 other countries paid $75m in music royalties to Australia. Australia paid more than three times this amount in royalties to international artists ($235m).

The last three years have seen the balance of trade reach the highest level since 1991-92.

APRA | AMCOS collected revenue of $20.2m from overseas collecting societies in 2010-11 – a decrease on prior years due to the appreciation of the Australian dollar.



Trade in recorded music

Australia’s spending on international music products exceeds our exports – with the majority relating to musical instruments

In 2005-06 Australia spent a total of $239 million on music imports and earned $12.8 million on recorded music exports. Included in this is $1.8 million earned on printed music or manuscript exports in 2005-06.

Table 9- Trade in recorded music 2005-06

Imports ($m)Exports ($m)
Music printed or in manuscript5.21.8
Recorded media for sound78.8-
Pianos and other keyboard stringed musical instruments27.81.8
Other stringed musical instruments26.32.4
Wind musical instruments19.61.1
Other musical instruments24.61.7
Musical instruments, the sound of which is produced, or must be amplified electrically56.74
Total expenditure239.012.8