Spotify rakes in half of Swedish music sales

Spotify rakes in half of Swedish music sales
Streaming services such as Spotify continue to bump up revenues for Swedish record companies, new industry figures reveal, offering hope for an industry struggling to recover from rampant file sharing.

Digital sales surpassed physical sales two years ago. In the first half of 2012, digital downloads and streaming accounted for 64 percent of the total market.

Last year was the best year for music sales in Sweden since 2005, according to data from the Swedish Recording Industry Association (GLF).

“This is a clear sign that more consumers are paying for their music consumption than for some time,” the chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Sweden, Ludvig Werner, said in a statement.

“The Swedish record companies have adapted their business models extremely quickly to today’s parallel sales channels.”

Figures compiled by the Swedish Recording Industry Association show that Swedes bought almost 4.4 million albums in the first half of 2012.

SEE ALSO: ‘The best (and worst) of Swedish music in 2012’

Music sales in the Nordic country rose 14 percent to 943.6 million kronor ($145.4 million) in 2012 from the previous year, boosted by a 12 percent increase in digital sales.

A total of 90 percent of digital sales came from music streaming services such as Spotify, the digital media juggernaut that was founded in 2006 by Swedes Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon.

Spotify first launched its service in 2008 in Sweden and says it has since become the world’s largest streaming service.

It claims to have a catalogue of more than 18 million songs, more than 15 million active users and over four million paying customers.

However, Sweden has also been at the forefront of file sharing activism, and in 2006 fans of the website Pirate Bay and similar sites formed the Pirate Party to campaign for copyright reform.

SEE ALSO: File sharing recognized as a religion in Sweden

Founded in 2003, The Pirate Bay — which boasts more than 30 million users — makes it possible to skirt copyright fees and share music, film and other files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site.

A co-founder of the Swedish-based website, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, was handed a one-year prison sentence by a Swedish court in 2009 for promoting copyright infringement but failed to show up to serve his term.

SEE ALSO: Cambodia deports Pirate Bay founder to Sweden

He was detained in Sweden in September last year, days after his deportation from Cambodia.

AFP/TT/The Local/at

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