Music Industry

Published on April 13th, 2015 | by Alan Cross

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What is the Deal with Sweden’s Music Industry?

Canadians are rightly proud of the music that this country produces. In fact, we punch far, far above our weight for a nation with just 35 million people spread over such a fast area. Yeah, we could do better–how is it that our vaunted funding system missed Arcade Fire, Drake and Justin Bieber?–but we still do okay.

Sweden is another country that does better than it should. They have less than a third of our population (less than 10 million, in fact), yet this country produced ABBA, one of the best-selling artists of all time and continues to churn out megahits thanks to producers like Max Martin. And let’s not forget that Spotify was born in Sweden.

However, there may be a problem going forward. Music Business Worldwide looks at the current state of the Swedish music industry.

Did Sweden’s recorded music market really decline in 2014?

There are, it transpires, two answers to this question.

The official figures clearly signify that, yes, the revenues generated in the territory dipped by 0.4% in the year.

This was a small stumble, but a significant one. The Swedish market has shown consistent and impressive recovery since the high-tide of piracy in 2008, driven by its proud embrace of Spotify.

As such, Sweden has rather become the golden child of the global music industry: a hopeful vision of the future for many other markets.

But this streaming surge has come at a cost: 2014 saw yet another massive drop in CD sales revenue in Sweden – down 33.8% year-on-year. And, for once, this monetary decline couldn’t fully be countered by streaming’s growth.

Regardless, Spotify is still finding new audiences in the territory: total streaming revenues were up 10.8% in 2014, as the format’s share of the total market grew from 71% to 80%.

This mutating dominance provides another, more optimistic way of looking at Sweden’s numbers, according to the CEO of the country’s IFPI, Ludvig Werner.

“Sweden is a very different country to almost every other music territory in the world,” he explains. “To me, Sweden was 10.8% up last year, because the growth in streaming revenues is what I focus on.

Keep reading.




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About the Author

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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