It used to be that there were three markets that the global music industry really kept their eye on. This holy triumvirate, known as ‘the big three’ in industry vernacular, were the three markets most important to the industry’s bottom line – the US, Japan, and the UK.

At least, they were the big three. Nowadays, there’s still three monoliths that contribute the lion’s share to the global industry, but the countries have changed, with the UK supplanted by Germany as the third market with the biggest annual cash spend on music.

As Music Business Worldwide reports, last year, across record sales, sync, and performance rights, these three nations generated $8.9bn between them, according to the IFPI. The US in particular is still one of the world’s strongest music markets.

According to the IFPI, in 2014, the country’s record business attracted US $4.9bn – a third of the global industry’s entire revenue. The US’ contribution was close to double the $2.63bn generated by Japan in 2014 and not far from quadruple Germany’s $1.4bn.

In fact, the US market also turned over more than the UK, France, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Brazil, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, and Mexico combined. However, it bears remembering that the US has a considerable population size advantage.

A better indicator of just where the world’s most committed music consumers live would be to investigate how much money is being spent per person in each market each year. MBW have now crunched the numbers to find which music fans are spending the most on records.

Biggest Per-Capita Music Markets

1. Norway: $23.58 per person
2. UK: $20.81
3. Japan: $20.64
4. Sweden: $19.75
5. Germany: $17.42
6. Australia: $16.26
7. USA: $15.36
8. Austria: $13.56
9. Switzerland: $13.39
10. France: $12.76

Source: Music Business Worldwide

As we can see above, despite its relatively small population size, Norway’s citizens, on average, shelled out US $23.58 on recorded music in 2014, followed by the UK, Japan, Sweden, and Germany, with Australia falling just outside the top five with $16.26 per person.

According to the IFPI, the Scandinavian country generated $119.9m from record sales last year. While Germany may have overtaken the UK market in terms of revenue in 2011, in terms of per-consumer spend, it’s more than $3 behind at $17.42.

Perhaps even more interesting is the bottom 10, the countries that simply aren’t pulling their commercial weight for the record business, despite large populations and even a cultural focus on music, such as China, which tops the list as the worst music market in the globe.

According to the IFPI, China has the 19th biggest recorded music market in the world, generating $105.2m in 2014. However, China also boasts the world’s largest population at 1.357bn people. It’s a similar tale in India, which has a population of 1.252bn people.

Smallest Per-Capita Music Markets

1. China: $0.07
2. India: $0.08
3. Mexico: $1.07
4. Brazil: $1.23
5. Spain: $3.87
6. Italy: $3.93
7. South Korea: $5.29
8. Canada: $9.74
9. Belgium: $9.93
10. Netherlands: $12.19

Source: Music Business Worldwide