News August 12, 2016

Downloads dive in Norway, streaming to drive annual market growth

Former Editor

Total music sales and revenue from streaming rose in Norway in the first half of 2016 but plays on services like Spotify and Tidal offered the biggest market injection.

Revenues from streaming now account for 83% of revenues from recorded music – that’s against 80% for the same period last year. Streaming helped total music sales rise by 7.8% in H1 2016 going from 309m NOK (AU$48.8m) in H1 2015 to 333m NOK (AU$52.6m) this year.

The increase means Norway’s music market is on track to top its 2015 return to growth, when it was up 6.9% to 646m NOK (AU$102.1m).

The figures from the IFPI Norway also show download sales have taken a nosedive. A 32% decline from 21m NOK (AU$3.3m) in 2015 to 14m NOK (AU$2.2m) means download sales account for just 4% of the turnover of music in Norway, compared to 7% last year. 

Video streaming platforms like YouTube are churning significantly low income for Norway’s music market. Despite 25% of the population using YouTube daily, revenues from video streaming account for accounting for 4.7m NOK (AU$742.9K) for the first half of 2016, compared to 4.9m NOK for the first half of 2015. Crucially, YouTube and its competitors services count for less than 1.5% of total revenue and than 2% of the total streaming revenue. 

Because of this Marte Thorsby, CEO of IFPI Norway is calling for an amendment to copyright legislation to stunt the abuse of safe harbours. YouTube uses safe harbours to avoid having full licenses, which would mean they would be paying creators the same rates as services like Spotify and Deezer. 

“[…] It is far from reasonable that they only pay a fraction of what competitors Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music pays to artists and record companies,” said Thorsby.

“It is necessary that we get a legal amendment that makes the conditions of competition similar between these players.”

Elsewhere in Norway’s half-year figures, revenues from vinyl have jumped 43% by 4.3m NOK from 9.9m NOK in 2015, to 14.2m NOK in 2016. Vinyl now accounts for 33% of sales of physical products, compared to 24% for the same period last year. 

Total physical sales reached 13%, which is the same level as last year.

Sales of Norwegian music (aka artists released by Norwegian record companies) were up. On streaming services, it made up 23% share, up 1% from 2015. On all formats, that share was 25%.

Norway’s love for heavy music doesn’t stop at its borders, or the borders of Finland and Sweden. According to iTunes, the Top 100 Albums in Norway as of today include Australia’s The Amity Affliction at #10 with new LP This Could Be Heartbreak, and Thy Art Is Murder, who came it at #41 for their collaborative EP The Depression Sessions with US acts The Acacia Strain & Fit for An Autopsy.

Meanwhile, Spotify’s Top 100 tracks currently in Norway features Melbourne’s Cookin’ On 3 Burners for their track This Girl with Kungs, Sia’s Cheap Thrills, Flume’s Never Be Like You and Grace’s You Don’t Own Me.

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