Full-year figures for the recorded music business in Norway in 2013 have been published today and show the market remains both in rude health and also a digital pioneer.
The headline number is that, in value terms, the market grew a further 11% last year to a worth of NOK 603m ($98m). Streaming is the golden child here, with its value contribution last year increasing by 60% to a value of NOK 394m ($64m). This means that streaming makes up 65.3% of the total recorded music market in the country.
In 2012, Norway was held up (alongside neighbouring Sweden) as a shining example of where a market was bucking the downward global trend and where streaming was both the driving factor and – by some comfortable distance – the dominant format.
The rise of digital has been sharp, according to IFPI Norway numbers. In 2008, digital (streaming and downloading) accounted for just 9.3% of total income, jumping to 15.1% in 2009 and 27.6% in 2010. Last year it accounted for 77.6%. Physical sales now only account for 12.4% of total revenues. Within digital itself, streaming has grabbed a 84.1% share. Spotify was the key driver in the market, with the company telling Music Ally that it now accounts for half of total recorded music revenues in Norway.
Also of note in IFPI Norway’s numbers is the fact that local acts dominate the charts. The top five albums of last year were dominated by Norwegian acts. Music from reality show Hver gang vi møtes was the biggets seller, with Bjørn Eidsvåg having one album in the top five and Kurt Nilsen scoring two. The only international act to break into the top five was Avicii (from Sweden). The only non-Nordic acts to make the top 10 were One Direction, Daft Punk and P!nk.
IFPI Norway praises local services like WiMP as well as Spotify for helping boost the market but also adds there is still work to do to grow the market further, particularly among older consumers. “We’re working on increasing the use of streaming services through all age segments, with particular focus on the 40+,” it said in its report. “We believe that a greater age-related prevalence in the use of streaming services will contribute positively to the Norwegian repertoire.” With this in mind, it is optimistic for further growth this year.
Other markets will, naturally, look to Norway to understand how it has not only grown the market but also ensured that local acts dominate. While there are some lessons to be learned from how Norwegian labels have engaged with digital and how streaming services work with telcos, other factors such as the country sitting outside of the Eurozone and having (in comparative terms) a strong economy with a large number of affluent citizens means the lessons in Norway are not always easily translatable.