From The Economist:
The implementation of a tax designed to make an extra €86m ($114m) for the French government would not normally be a newsworthy story. But when a French government committee proposed a 1% tax on all devices that could connect to the internet, it became big news. The Lescure Report, which made the proposal, wants the proceeds of the tax to protect and nurture “French cultural products”—things like music and film. And the move indicates the level of fear felt in the French establishment that its cultural patrimony is being killed by a global (read: American) invasion.
But should governments be worried that their national culture is being destroyed by globalisation? A recent paper by Fernando Ferreira and Joel Waldfogel focuses on the music industry, looking at chart entries from 22 countries from 1960 to 2007. These countries correspond to around 98% of the $34 billion revenue in recorded music over the last decade. And the evidence suggests that globalisation is not nearly as dominant as some might think.
When the Beatles were taking off, the prospects for “domestic music”—that is, music produced and consumed in the same country—looked bleak. From the 1960s to the 1980s, the proportion of domestic music fell sharply: Italians were listening to relatively less Italian music and relatively more American music. By 1985, consumers spent as much time listening to foreign bands as they did domestic groups. But from the low point of the mid-1980s the picture changed. We have now reached a level of domestic consumption not seen for 50 years, with 70% of listening time devoted to domestic tunes. People increasingly seem to prefer domestic repertoire to foreign fare.
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