• Sweden's news in English
 

Swedes prefer streaming to downloading

Published: 10 Mar 2013 12:05 GMT+01:00

Legal downloading sites like Apple's iTunes Store were once thought to be a panacea for the global music industry, providing an alternative to illegal download sites like Sweden's Pirate Bay.

But if the high-tech Scandinavian nation is anything to go by, music downloads could soon be as obsolete as CDs or vinyl records.

iTunes' success has been modest here, with the vast majority of consumers preferring to stream songs rather than owning them on a hard drive.

Last year, 2012, was the best year for music sales in Sweden since 2005, with 63 percent of revenue coming from digital sources, according to data from the Swedish Recording Industry Association (GLF). Out of that, 90 percent came from streaming services.

"Norway and Sweden are similar in that a large part of music revenue comes from streaming, and in that both countries have seen strong growth," said Ludwig Werner, managing director of the Swedish chapter of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

Other countries, including Europe's largest economy Germany, still derive most of their music sales from CDs, he noted.

With income still lagging the heydays of the early noughties, when file-sharing began eating into results, Werner said it was too early to tell if the music industry was out of the woods.

Last year's sales of 943 million kronor ($148 million) in Sweden was up 13.8 percent from the previous year, but well below the 1.55 billion registered in 2002.

The Swedish turnaround has been driven by two events: In 2009, the Ipred law came into effect, giving copyright holders the right to require service providers to reveal details of users who share files, paving the way for legal action.

Also contributing to a rise in legal music sales was Spotify, the digital media juggernaut launched by Swedes Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in 2008. The streaming music service still counts Sweden as one of its most successful markets.

"We do see a similar trend (for sales) across the Nordics, but primarily for Sweden and Norway where the penetration for streaming services is very high," spokeswoman Marine Elgrichi said.

According to the company, the 1,000 kronor that a paying Spotify user spends on music per year is twice that of a user who downloads songs.

Asked about the criticism levied at the digital music service for how it compensates artists, Elgrichi said it pays 70 percent of revenues back to record labels and collecting societies, who then pay the artists.

Last spring, Spotify had paid out a total of 1.6 billion kronor. At the beginning of this year that amount had doubled.

"To double that figure in under a year shows the huge strides we're making," Elgrichi said.

Tom McAlevey, founder of Radical.FM, a Swedish music streaming start-up modelled on US-based Pandora Internet radio, said streaming music services would create "the most lucrative era the music industry has ever been in."

According to his own calculations, between 100 and 200 plays on Spotify earns a record company the same amount of money it would make from a download.

"After that it's just pure profit. No one's buying anything a second time on iTunes," he said.

"It's going to be the most lucrative thing ever because you get paid forever," he argued.

Artists' criticism of streaming services like Spotify was beginning to subside as they were "starting to understand the math," he said.

The rise of streaming music is already affecting how record labels operate. With more people discovering new artists through shared playlists and "tailored" radio stations like Pandora that predict what kind of music the listener wants to hear, there's less need for costly advertising campaigns to

promote the performer.

"Previously most of our marketing activities were tied to paying for exposure," said Robert Litsen, an executive at Swedish-based Cosmos Music Group.

Promotional campaigns for a singer or a band were now more focused on "what you communicate" rather than "how much you're willing to pay," he added.

Others believe it could shift the industry's economic cycle away from the traditional spike in CD sales before Christmas.

"With less focus on the Christmas market, we can spread out the releases of albums at different times, when artists have more of a chance to stand out," the managing director of Universal Music Sweden, Per Sundin, said in a recent report from IFPI.

Prior to the controversial Ipred law, Sweden was at the forefront of file-sharing activism, and in 2006 fans of the website Pirate Bay formed the Pirate Party to campaign for copyright reform.

But party leader Anna Troberg said she didn't think the crackdown on file-sharers was behind the music industry's newfound success.

"I think it's because they've finally begun using new technology to their advantage, rather than trying to fight it," she said.

Spotify was a good alternative for "chart music", but finding the sort of niche acts she listened to herself was harder, Troberg noted.

AFP/The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

04:13 March 11, 2013 by Phillynilly
It won't be long until streaming is made illegal as well...
Today's headlines
Increase in violence in Swedish asylum centres
The surge of migrants into Europe fleeing war-torn regions has increased the pressure on the Swedish migration system. Photo: Soeren Bidstup / AFP / Scanpix Denmark

Increase in violence in Swedish asylum centres

The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) has so far this year recorded almost as many reports of threats and violence in asylum accommodation as throughout the whole of 2014, according to the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. READ  

Wet July dampens Swedes' summer spirit
Rain in Stockholm. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Wet July dampens Swedes' summer spirit

Swedes complaining about the disappointing summer were vindicated after meterologists revealed on Friday that July indeed finished wetter – but warmer – than normal. READ  

Swedes get set for new money, money, money
Christina Wejshammar of Sweden's central bank. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Swedes get set for new money, money, money

A new smartphone app is set to help Swedes navigate the biggest switch in bank notes the country has ever seen with only two months to go before the new cash is introduced. READ  

Bananas free Swedish man from speeding fine
These are not the bananas on trial. Photo: Leif R Jansson/SCANPIX

Bananas free Swedish man from speeding fine

A Swedish driver has escaped speeding tickets in court – because the offender was eating a banana. If that sounds bananas to you, keep reading. READ  

Swedish farm mystery as pigs vanish without trace
Schörling suspects that the swine, which have a value of around 65,000 kronor, were stolen. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/SCANPIX

Swedish farm mystery as pigs vanish without trace

UPDATED: A Swedish farmer is mystified about the disappearance of 64 pigs from his farmyard in the town of Vingåker, central Sweden. READ  

Snoop Dogg's initial drug test positive say police
Snoop Dogg in concert in Uppsala. Photo: Marcus Ericsson / TT

Snoop Dogg's initial drug test positive say police

Initial tests suggest that US rapper Snoop Dogg was under the influence when he was arrested by Swedish police after performing at a gig last weekend, a police spokesman told The Local on Friday. READ  

Mining behind Swedish 'earthquake' say experts
The Malmberget mine in northern Sweden. Photo: Carl-Johan Utsi/TT

Mining behind Swedish 'earthquake' say experts

On Friday Sweden awoke to news of the second earthquake in less than a week, this time in the far north of the country. But a seismologist told The Local that the tremors were the result of mining activity. READ  

Concerns over 'too Swedish' police force
Swedish police are struggling to attract people from foreign backgrounds. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Concerns over 'too Swedish' police force

UPDATED: Swedish police academies expressed concern on Friday over a sharp decline in the number of foreign-born future officers. READ  

The Local Recipes
How to throw your own Swedish crayfish party
Swedish crayfish party. Photo: Carolina Romare/imagebank.sweden.se

How to throw your own Swedish crayfish party

August crayfish parties are one of the highlights of the Swedish calendar and appeal to people of all ages. Food writer John Duxbury shares his best tips with The Local for making your own crayfish party a success. READ  

Sweden to crack down on silly police reports
A police spokesman told The Local they receive many complaints from people who lose their car keys. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/SCANPIX

Sweden to crack down on silly police reports

The Swedish government announced on Thursday that is is going to launch an investigation into valuable police time being wasted by officers forced to deal with unnecessary reports and complaints. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Technology
Modern mugging: Swedish thieves use smartphone app to rob man
Lifestyle
Five fun festivals to get you partying in Sweden this week
National
How a century-old Russian sub wreck got Sweden into a frenzy
Gallery
People-watching: July 29th
National
How to become a Swedish woman
Blog updates

31 July

Editor’s blog, July 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Dear readers, As the Stockholm Pride Festival kicked off this week, we spoke to the chairman of..." READ »

 

15 July

Climate Change: A New Risk Assessment (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world today.   The UK is..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Free bus cards for refugees in Sweden
Lifestyle
New snaps of Sweden's baby prince
National
Why are Swedes so scared of Russian submarines?
Gallery
Property of the week: Simrishamn, Skåne
National
Why has Snoop Dogg said he will never return to Sweden?
Sponsored Article
Getting pregnant the Swedish way
Features
Five outrageously harsh tourist comments about Sweden
Sponsored Article
Why is Sweden still working with Russia?
Gallery
People-watching: July 24th-26th
Travel
Seven ways to beat the Swedish rain
National
Should Sweden's alcohol stores be open on weekends?
National
How to become a Swedish man
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd
Lifestyle
How to never miss your favourite features on The Local
National
Royal husband on 'breadwinner' role
National
Stockholm to ban all cars for one day
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Gallery
Property of the week: Sölvesborg, Blekinge
National
Questions over who would replace Swedish PM in a crisis
Gallery
People-watching: July 17th-19th
National
Why are Swedish women joining Isis?
Travel
Ten Stockholm streets you just have to walk down
Sponsored Article
'Swedish women must demand their partners use a condom'
Sport
Did UK football parents threaten Swedish kids?
Technology
Stockholm scientists find world's oldest sperm
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th
National
Angry Swede uses bird nest as fake speed camera
National
Meatball row as Ikea changes recipe
National
Sweden's new princess in spotlight
National
Slimy slugs go on sale to raise cash for EU migrants in Sweden
National
Crown Princess Victoria turns 38
Sponsored Article
Harstena: Life in Sweden's secret archipelago
National
Is this the best marriage proposal story in Malmö's history?
Sponsored Article
'Biofuels critical for climate-friendly flights'
Sponsored Article
Gaps don't have to kill your Swedish CV
National
Why summer could be the best time to invest in a Swedish property
Gallery
Property of the week: Bollnäs, Hälsingland
National
Swedish house on sale for one krona
National
Would you give this ugly food a home?
Gallery
People-watching: July 10th-12th
Travel
Foreign hikers in Sweden set to get more help in English
National
Prince Nicolas enjoys first summer
National
Meet the amazing Swedish granny who loves theme parks
National
Stockholm to host Eurovision 2016
Sponsored Article
'Swedish industry needs US trade deal'
Sponsored Article
Sweden's 'incredible' chance to connect
Sponsored Article
'Today's refugees could be tomorrow's Zlatan'
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Sponsored Article
‘I don’t feel Swedish, I feel international’
Sponsored Article
VIP Mingle at Almedalen's hottest event
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,287
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se