Sweden is about the size of California.
Its population is roughly that of North Carolina. So the question is whether Sweden represents a unique music market way over there, or a first mover that predicts the future for the rest of the world.
And, if Sweden is what the world looks like tomorrow, is that good for the music industry? Or, a huge problem for anyone that isn’t a huge label, huge stakeholder, or fan?
The latest stats from Swedish recording group GLC tell quite a story. Most notably, the group found that streaming revenues now account for 89 percent of total digital music revenues in the country, a ratio that will become increasingy lopsided over time. By comparison, analyst Mark Mulligan found streaming penetration rates in countries (and largest music markets) like the US, UK, and Japan to be significantly lower.
On one level, that means that downloads are an increasingly unimportant source of revenue for Swedish labels and artists (and, Norwegian artists, among other earlier adopters). More accurately, it means that paid downloads are less important in the broader legitimate mix, as a separate study from Lund University shows a continued increase in file-sharing activity in the region.
Overall, streaming pulled revenues of 253 million kronor ($36 million) for the first half, against broader recording revenues of 446 million kronor ($63.5 million). This isn’t a difficult trend to analyze.