Stars head to Scandinavia as Nordic nations find music industry salvation

 

Once Sweden’s role in pop was merely to export Abba albums. Now music’s biggest stars are heading to Scandinavia after Sweden and Norway stunned a record industry in decline by reporting soaring sales figures.

In the UK, the music industry continues to contract, with album sales tumbling 11 per cent last year. It’s a similar story in the US, where piracy and the switch to digital have slashed record company profits.

However Norway and Sweden bucked the global trend by posting a surprise leap in music revenues, forcing artists to reconsider where they focus their touring and promotional efforts.

According to IFPI Sweden, the value of the Swedish recorded music market soared last year by 13.8 per cent, generating 943 million kronor (£92.5 million).

Norway’s trade body recorded an impressive 7 per cent rise, the first increase since 2004, with revenues hitting 545.3 million krone (62.4 million).

The temperature in Oslo might currently be sub-zero but the musical climate in Scandinavia is more welcoming for artists, who prefer to tour in markets where fans are most likely to buy their music after a show.

Biffy Clyro, The Killers and Jake Bugg, the rising British singer-songwriter, are among the acts who will play concerts in Oslo and Stockholm in the next few weeks.

Indie band Villagers, Patrick Wolf, Slash and the latest version of The Jacksons are also heading to Norway and Sweden.

Blur are not playing any UK shows this year but they have signed up to headline the Øya festival in Norway this Summer.

The Scandinavian success is due to both countries making a successful transition to paid-for digital music.

In Sweden, digital revenue accounted for 64 per cent of total recorded music revenue, up 12 per cent from 2011. Income from streaming services, such as Spotify, rose by 55 per cent and accounted for 90 per cent of all digital revenues. CD sales declined by 15 per cent.

It’s a similar story in Norway where streaming revenue increased by 226 per cent to 189 million kroner (£22 million), while downloads grew 6 per cent. This more than offset a 20 per cent decline in physical sales.

Record companies, reeling from the collapse of HMV, which holds 38 per cent of the declining CD market, are now hailing the “Scandinavian model”. David Balfour, commentator for the influential industry website Record of the Day, wrote:  “The figures from Sweden and Norway lead the way in pointing to a music industry that has not only weathered the worst of the storm but looks to be on its way to increasing health.

“Streaming services now have critical mass in Scandinavia, whilst consumers are showing that this is how they want to access music.”

The Swedish success is considered particularly notable since the country is home to the file-sharing Pirate Bay website and the Pirate Party, which seeks to undermine copyright laws.

Swedish music fans can choose between a number of legal streaming services alongside Spotify, including Deezer, WiMP, Rdio, Sony's Music Unlimited, Xbox Music and Rara.com.

Norway benefits from a high rate of broadband penetration and the industry believes revenues will continue to soar.

Marte Thorsby, CEO of IFPI Norway, said: “This is the first time we have seen an increase in music sales since 2004 and 7 per cent is a solid increase. Streaming has grown from 13 per cent of the total sales in 2010 and now counts for 45 per cent of the total. And I do not think the top is reached.”

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
Crime watch: Cara Delevingne and Daniel Brühl in ‘The Face of an Angel’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
music Malik left the Asian leg of the band's world tour after being signed off with stress last week
News
Author J.K. Rowling attends photocall ahead of her reading from 'The Casual Vacancy' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 27, 2012 in London, England.
peopleNot the first time the author has defended Dumbledore's sexuality
News
‘The Late Late Show’ presenter James Corden is joined by Mila Kunis and Tom Hanks for his first night as host
news
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss