Closeup of Marantz 2235B stereo receiver.

Who Likes American Music & the State of Radio in America

The Republic of Ghana is located in western Africa, almost at the very bottom of where the continent juts into the Atlantic. It has a population of 32-million people (here’s a gratuitous fun fact: Tokyo has a population of 37-million people, which just goes to show that China isn’t number-one across the board demographically). The official language in Ghana is English.

So why is this relevant to anything you might otherwise find on GloNo?

It’s this:

Morning Consult did a survey of the popularity of U.S. cultural products around the world. The categories include Movies & TV, U.S.-made Goods; Food and Beverages; and, yes, Music.

And it turns out that in Ghana, U.S. Music is rated as “Excellent or Good” by 78% of the people surveyed.

Actually, when it comes to liking American music Ghana is second internationally to South Africa by a single percentage point. However, 13% of those in Ghana rate U.S. music as “Fair” and that number is 12% in South Africa, so it could be a wash.

What’s interesting is that in places where it might be thought that American music would be popular due to cultural similarities, that is not at all the case.

In terms of rating it “Excellent or Good”:

  • Canada: 67%
  • Australia: 61%
  • U.K.: 46%

Clearly, a common language does not make for common interest.

Notably, in the 17 countries surveyed, the U.K. has the highest percentage of those rating U.S. music as “Poor or terrible”: 13%

That’s almost twice as many as other countries. Tied for second in their dislike are the U.A.E. and Australia, both at 7%.

And going back to the aforementioned Tokyo, of the 17 countries, the one that has the least number rating U.S. music as “Excellent or good” is Japan, which has it at 38%.

Which seems somewhat strange, given that for several years running America’s favorite sedan has been the Camry.


As regards events, February 13 is not a big day in history.

One thing that stands out is that in 1914 the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) was established. The purpose is to collect licensing fees from users of music created by ASCAP members (there are now some 875,000 members). It has licensed over 17 million  songs and scores and tracks more than a trillion uses each year. Money is collected and “about 90 cents of every dollar” it collects is returned to the members. In 2021 it collected some $1.3-billion, so when you wonder about why so many investment firms are interested in buying up the catalogs of popular and even marginal artists, that’s why.

The granularity of ASCAP’s pursuit of royalties is rather remarkable. On February 16, 2023, it filed 12 copyright infringement actions against 12 bars and restaurants for, said Stephanie Ruyle, ASCAP executive vice president of Licensing, using “music without compensating songwriters.” The venues are The Barn at Cowboy Jack’s (Minneapolis, MN); Drying Shed (San Jose, CA); Dunn’s River Island Cafe (Tampa, FL); Fremont Country Club (Las Vegas, NV); Kings X (El Paso, TX); Neck of the Woods (San Francisco, CA); Prejean’s (Lafayette, LA); Rodeo 4 (Lubbock, TX); Sage Restaurant & Lounge (Whittier, CA); Savoie Italian Eatery (Chula Vista, CA); Treehouse Rooftop (Los Angeles, CA); Venu (Boston, MA).

The scope is both laudable and somewhat disturbing (i.e., do they have people going into facilities from the Atlantic and Pacific and places in between. . . ?).

But back to February 13.

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, named the day “World Radio Day.” (Clearly, it didn’t have a lot of competition for the date.)

The Pew Research Center looked into radio listening in the U.S., and some of its findings are more surprising than the popularity of U.S. music in Ghana.

For example, as of 2020 (the most recent year data is available for), 83% of people in the U.S. age 12 and above listened to plain old terrestrial radio in a given week. For some reason, that year, the first year of COVID, marked a decline in radio listening. It was 92% in 2009 and was fairly steady in subsequent years. In 2019 it was at 89%, then the drop.

Still, the number of people listening to the radio is greater than those who are doing what seems to be something far more extensive: listening to podcasts.

Pew reports that 28% of those age 12 and above listened to a podcast in the past week (in 2021) and 41% in the past month. Those respective figures were 7% and 12% in 2013. They are on an upward trajectory while radio is. . . .

One of the things that UNSECO does is name “World Heritage Sites,” which are deemed to be things that require protection and preservation.

Last year it celebrated the 50th anniversary of that activity. There are 10 criteria for consideration. The first three are:

  1. To represent a masterpiece of human creative genius
  2. To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
  3. To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared

How long will it be before terrestrial radio needs a nomination?

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