Swedish pop stars unite against illegal downloading

Over a hundred of Sweden's best-known pop artists have signed an open letter protesting against the illegal downloading of their music. "We do not want to be robbed," they said in the letter, which was distributed by the Swedish branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

Among the artists who signed the letter were Per Gessle, Lena Philipsson, Alcazar, Magnus Uggla and Soundtrack of our Lives.

“Downloading music, films, books and computer programmes without paying for them is on the verge of becoming politically correct,” they said.

The letter argued that “artistic work” should be treated in the same way as any other product to be sold, and pointed out that in no other area is the right of ownership questioned.

“We accept that it is the owner’s name on the door of the flat where he lives. We don’t think it is strange that the grocer earns money from the sausage which is sold in the store. But when the work is creative it is considered that we who created it should accept having it taken by others without getting anything in return.”

IFPI chief executive Lars Gustafsson told Svenska Dagbladet that the idea for the letter had come from the artists themselves.

“There’s a lot of debate around downloading and sometimes it appears that the artists think it’s good that their music spreads over the internet,” he said.

“Possibly there are artists who think that, and that’s OK, but this is saying that the artists, the copyright owners themselves, must decide how their music will be distributed.”

It was unclear whether the stars were appealing directly to their fans or just having a general grumble, but they emphasised that “this is not about the biggest pop stars’ millions” or the entertainment industry’s profits.

“For us artists this is about having the opportunity to have this kind of activity as a profession. Ultimately it’s about what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Sources: IFPI, Svenska Dagbladet, Aftonbladet

The full list of artists who signed the letter:

Adam Kviman, Alcazar, Amy Diamond, Andreas Alfredsson (Waver), Andreas Johnson, Andrés Esteche, Anita Strandell, Anna Stadling (Hovet), Anna Ternheim, Annika Thörnquist (Da Buzz), Arash, Axel Robach (Whyte Seeds), Backyard Babies, Bengt Ernryd, Bengt Palmers, Björn Synneby (Whyte Seeds), Bo Kaspers Orkester, Bo Winberg / The Spotnicks, Cameron Cartio, Camilla Lindén, Christian Walz, Claes Janson, Clarence Öfwerman, Daniel Cirera, Daniel Lemma, Daniel Lindström, Dave Lepard (Crashdïet), Dhani (A-teens), Diana Nunez, DJ Aligator, Elin Lanto, Elin Sigvardsson, Eric Young (Crashdïet), Fredrik Norén, Gregoris Tzistoudis, Günther, Göran Fristorp, Göran Fritzon, Hawkey Franzén, Henrik Lindén (Whyte Seeds), Håkan Hemlin (Nordman), Idde Schultz (Hovet), Jalle Lorentsson (Wilmer X), Jen, Jens Back (Hovet), Jill Johnson, Johan Persson (Hovet), Johan Renck, Jojje Wadenius, Jonas Warnerbring, Josef Zackrisson (Hovet), Josefin Nilsson, Josefina Andersson (Waver), Klas Edmundsson (Lambretta), Laleh, Lars Beijbom, Lars Dylte (Blå Grodorna) , Lasse Andersson (låtskrivare/producent) , Lasse Lindbom, Lasse Lindgren, Lena Philipsson, Linda Sundblad (Lambretta) , Lisa Rydberg, Little Gerhard, Magnus Bäcklund, Magnus Uggla, Markoolio, Martin E-type Eriksson, Martin Sweet (Crashdïet) , Mathias Holmgren, Mats Norrefalk, Mats Ronander, Mats Wester (Nordman) , Mikael Ramel, Mimmi Pettersson-Hammar, Monica Borrfors, Nico Janco (Whyte Seeds) , Nils Landgren, Nisse Hellberg (Wilmer X) , Norpan Eriksson (Hovet) , Olle Hagberg (Whyte Seeds) , Patrik Boman, Pendletones, Peps Persson, Per Gessle, Per Lidén (Da Buzz) , Peter Jöback, Peter LeMarc, Peter London (Crashdïet) , Peter Nordahl, Peter Stormare, Petter, Petter Lantz (Lambretta) , Pier Schmid (Da Buzz) , Pål Svenre, Rotebergs-Raggarn, Rune Öfwerman, Sharon Bezaly, Sofia Karlsson, Sophie Zelmani, Staffan Andersson (Hovet) , Staffan Wiklander (Blå Grodorna) , Sticky Bomb (Wilmer X) , Sugarplum Fairy, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, Thomas Holst (Wilmer X) , Uno Svenningsson, West Of Eden, Winter, Zifa, Åsa Jinder, Östen Warnerbring


What are the best concerts in Sweden this autumn?

Now that Sweden has lifted its audience restrictions for public events, The Local's Paul O'Mahony lists his recommendations for the best gigs to attend over the coming months.

Crowd at a music concert in Debaser, Stockholm
Crowds return to Stockholm venue Debaser after pandemic restrictions on events were lifted. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Sweden’s musicians, concert promoters and venue operators have struggled to varying degrees through the pandemic. One surefire way to help get them back on their feet is to give organisers and artists the financial reassurance they need by pre-booking concerts. 

Of course these recommendations only apply if you feel safe attending large events; remember that you should stay home and take a Covid-19 test if you experience any symptoms that could be linked to the virus, even if vaccinated. And make sure to check with organisers if there are any specific coronavirus requirements you need to be aware of. 

Coming up: top gigs in Sweden over the next few months 

As a regular gig-goer, live music is the one thing I’ve missed most over the past year and a half. So it is with some excitement (and, I’ll admit, a degree of trepidation) that I prepare to go see Norwegian band Pom Poko this Friday at Hus 7 in Stockholm. Their melodic art-punk album Cheater sparked the year into life on its release in January. They’re also playing Plan B in Malmö on Saturday night

Plan B is also the venue when Squid hit Sweden with a thrilling dose of post-punk on October 15th. Tickets remain available for the show at the time of writing (an absolute steal at 120 kronor), though that’s sadly not the case in Stockholm where their October 16th gig at Melodybox sold out a long time ago. (Although you can sign up to be added to a waiting list). 

Another artist well worth checking out in October is Gothenburg guitarist and singer Amanda Werne, better known as Slowgold. Her live shows are great and she is embarking on a Swedish tour on October 8th. 

Emma-Jean Thackray, one of the UK’s most interesting jazz artists, will be at Fasching in Stockholm on October 15th

For the best kind of sonic assault, Anna von Hasswolff’s band Bada are scheduled to play in Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg in late October. 

Have any of you ever seen Gothenburg electronic veterans Little Dragon live? I haven’t but might check them out in November when they swing by Malmö, Stockholm and Gothenburg

Amason are also heading out on the road for a Scandinavian tour in November. If you haven’t heard Amanda Bergman’s voice in a live setting before this will be a treat. 

The inimitable Sibille Attar released her superb second album A History of Silence at the start of the year and she’s finally getting the chance to play her eighties-inspired gems live at Slaktkyrkan in Stockholm on November 18th

Cassandra Jenkins long lurked in the background as a musician in touring bands for people like Eleanor Friedberger and Purple Mountains. But this year’s album An Overview on Phenomenal Nature has really established her as an artist to be reckoned with in her own right. She’s coming to Södra Teatern in Stockholm on November 26th

Always popular in this part of the world, The Jesus and Mary Chain return to Sweden for dates in Stockholm and Gothenburg at the end of November

Wry Finland-Swedish indie outfit Vasas Flora och Fauna have some of the funniest (Swedish) lyrics and catchiest tunes around. They’ll be in Stockholm and Gothenburg the first weekend of December

UK experimental rockers Black Midi are also playing Stockholm and Gothenburg on December 4th and 5th. So prepare to travel if you want to catch both them and Vasas Flora and Fauna. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Bob Hund’s annual ‘week 48’ show also takes place on December 4th. But that has been sold out for ages so no decisions to make there. It is also worth noting though that Sweden’s hardest working band has also written a musical that’s going to be performed in Helsingborg (October-November) and Gothenburg (November)

Bonus: For a post-Christmas pick-me-up try to get down to Little Simz at Slaktkyrkan on January 14th if you’re in Stockholm. The UK rapper’s new album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is one of this year’s best releases. 

Selected artists playing Sweden in 2022: Henry Rollins, Sarah Klang, Yann Tiersen, Mogwai, Pearl Charles, Wolf Alice, Lloyd Cole, Lord Huron, Future Islands, Josh Rouse + Vetiver, Tricky, Snail Mail, Porridge Radio, Aldous Harding, Shame, The Kooks, The War on Drugs, Echo and the Bunnymen, Kings of Convenience, Fontaines D.C., Alex Cameron, Lucy Dacus, The Divine Comedy, Mdou Moctar, Iggy Pop, Chubby and the Gang, Sparks, Belle & Sebastian, The National, Sharon Van Etten, Teenage Fanclub, Tindersticks, Suede, Viagra Boys, Pavement. 

For bigger arena shows, Ticketmaster covers a lot of the bases. Big-name acts with gigs in the offing include Ed Sheeran, Zara Larsson, Whitesnake and, lest we forget, ABBA

And that’s just a fraction of what’s going on. Tour schedules are busier than ever now that artists are finally getting back on the road. To keep track of what gigs are coming up I can recommend checking in with Luger, FKP Scorpio, and Live Nation. Follow your favourite venues too: sometimes they cut out the middleman and do their own booking and promotion. I also use the Bandsintown app, which comes with the added bonus of receiving messages from your favourite artists which let you pretend to be their friend. 

Enjoy the gigs, and stay safe! 

Paul O’Mahony is editorial product manager at The Local. In his spare time he plays the best new indie and alternative music as host of the Signals show on Nerve Music.