Which country in the world listens to the most music? You might be surprised.

One of the cool things about streaming is that amount of raw data that can be collected about who’s listening to what and where.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is a worldwide lobby group from the recording industry. Each year, they issue a report on global listening habits.

For the most current survey, they spoke with 34,000 people across the 21 countries most responsible for the worldwide music market. Here are some top line results:

  1. The average person is now listening to music 18 hours a week, up from 17.8 the previous year. Credit with the easy access to music via streaming.
  2. The people who listen to the most? Mexicans. The average citizen of that country listens to 25.6 hours of music per week, which works out to a solid 3.5 hours a day. (Fun fact: The most popular music in Mexico? Rock. Latin pop is in third place.)
  3. South Koreans appear to be too busy to listen to much music, even thought K-pop is one of the nation’s biggest exports. The average time spent listening to music is 13.9 hours per week. However, South Koreans buy more music per capita than anyone else (44% reported buying music vs. 26% of Canadians).

Other odd facts:

  • Only 2.5% of the people in the survey say that music is “unimportant” to them.
  • At the other end of the scale, the citizens of South Africa are most likely to brand themselves as music “fanatics” (75%). Canada is at 59%.
  • The people of The Netherlands listen to the most radio per week (10/5 hours).
  • The fourth-most popular form of music in China is soundtracks. Go figure.

Finally, here are the world’s favourite genres ranked:

01. Pop
02. Rock
03. Oldies
04. Hip-hop/Rap
05. Dance/Electronic
06. Indie/Alternative
07. K-Pop
08. Metal
09. R&B
10. Classical

Read the full report here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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