We’ve been hearing a steady flow of stories in recent weeks showing impressive growth for recorded-music revenues in 2016 from various countries around the world – driven by streaming subscriptions. But what about Spotify’s homeland Sweden?
IFPI Sweden put out its annual figures this morning. They reveal a 6.2% rise in 2016 to 1.13bn kronor (around $125m), with streaming services accounting for 82.3% of that total. The 951.8m kronor of streaming revenues was up 8% year-on-year: decent in what’s often seen as a saturated market.
The figures also break out the different kinds of streaming. Subscription streams generated just over 906m kronor (80.2% of overall revenues) compared to 23.4m kronor of ad-supported audio stream income (2.1%) and 22.3m kronor of video stream income (2%) – i.e. YouTube.
Elsewhere, music-download revenues were down 22.9% to 18.5m kronor, accounting for just 1.6% of overall sales – yes, less than YouTube, although the downloads market never did ignite in Sweden, first because of piracy and then due to Spotify.
Physical music sales? They actually grew overall. CD sales in Sweden fell 9.4% to 106.2m kronor in 2016, but vinyl grew by 38.7% to 45.4m kronor, helping the total physical market rise by 0.5% to 157.8m kronor.
IFPI Sweden added that 28% of music sales were generated by Swedish repertoire, with the other 72% coming from international artists. That’s a topic of some debate across the Nordics, as labels try to grow local artists’ share of streams on services like Spotify.
Plenty of positive news, then, but if you spotted an argument about the ‘value gap’ coming along, give yourself a clap on the back. IFPI Sweden boss Ludvig Werner addressed the ongoing row over safe harbours and YouTube royalties in his statement on the figures.
“Ten years of experience in streaming, and the new economic conditions of streaming, means we now know how important it is for everyone in the food chain – from composers to performers and record labels – all music services are subject to the same regulations,” he said.
“[The situation where] one service is negotiating with rightsholders and paying 60-70% of revenues while another service does not need to negotiate and pays 8-10% is simply not sustainable.”