Streaming still storming as Norwegian music sales rise 17% year-on-year


norway-flagThe IFPI’s Norwegian division has published some new figures for recorded music revenues in Norway, showing that total sales rose by 17% year-on-year in the first half of 2013.

Yes, we’ll say that again: ALL music sales are up 17%. That’s an even more impressive rise than the 7% year-on-year growth for 2012 as a whole, which was the first time Norway had seen an increase in music sales since 2004.

What’s driving this strong growth? Streaming music. IFPI Norway says that streaming revenues increased by 66% year-on-year in the first half of 2013, and now account for 66% of all recorded music revenues in Norway – that’s compared to 46% in the first half of 2012.

Streaming IS cannibalising sales of music downloads in Norway, which fell 21% year-on-year and now accounts for 14% of total music sales there. And physical sales fell 29% year-on-year too.

But the overall pie is growing thanks to streaming, with digital now accounting for 80% of all recorded-music revenues in Norway.

Debate will continue over how what’s happening in Norway (and Sweden, where total sales rose 13.8% in 2012) can be translated to other countries around the world. But the streaming-led upswing in Scandinavia is starting to look like a long-term trend rather than a flash in the pan.

Update: IFPI Norway has provided us with the actual figures for today’s announcement. Total sales in Norway for the first half of 2013 were around 287m Krone ($47.28m), up from 246m Krone ($40.51m) in the first half of 2012.

In the first half of 2013, those figures thus broke down like this: 40m Krone for downloads, 189m Krone for streams and 58m for physical sales.

“Streaming has grown from 13% of total sales in 2010, 32 of total sales in 2011 and now accounts for 45% of sales. And I do not think the top is reached,” said IFPI Norway CEO Marte Thorsby at the time the 2012 figures were announced. With streaming services accounting for 66% of sales in the first half of 2013, she was right.

It would also be interesting to know which streaming services are driving the growth in Norway. Market share figures are hard to come by, although we can gauge Spotify’s size (a bit) by looking at its Spotify 50 chart for Norway.

Last week, the 50 most popular tracks on Spotify in Norway were streamed 11.76m times collectively, ranging from first-placed Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ with its 1.14m streams to 50th-placed Cir.Cuz’s ‘Supernova’ with 102k streams.

Written by: Stuart Dredge