The population of Sweden is about the same as New Jersey. Which raises the question: is this just something happening over there, or a genuine precursor to global format shifts?
Either way, the Swedish petri dish has spawned a remarkable streaming culture. According to half-year stats just released by IFPI Sweden and the Swedish Recording Industry Association (GLF), streaming now accounts for 70.3 percent of all recording sales in the country, with downloads a mere afterthought.
More importantly, streaming is officially reversing a downward trend initially caused by file-swapping and torrenting. According to the stats, Swedish sales are up 12 percent over 2012 to 499.4 million SEK ($77.1 million), itself an improving period. Suddenly, the free-fall is not only bottoming, but showing significant signs of recovery.
On the margins, downloads carried about 6 percent of the digital total, while physical formats (mostly CDs) plunged 24 percent during the period. Overall, physical formats account for roughly 25 percent of all recorded music sales in the region.