Music Downloads Have Been Completely Swallowed by Streaming In Norway

Candles for Norway
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In even more good news for the music industry as a whole, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or just plain IFPI, reported that music sales in Norway grew 7.8% over last year.  For the first half of 2016, there was a reported growth of 333 million NOK, or $40.3 million from music sales alone.  This is a solid change from last year, when in the same period, the Norwegian music industry reported 309 million NOK, or $37.4 million.

There are actually a few surprising details worth checking out in IFPI’s report.  Downloads sales are actually “significantly reduced”, now bringing in only 4% of overall revenue at 14 million NOK, or $1.7 million.  This is a 32% drop from last year, when downloads brought in 21 million NOK, or $2.5 million, about 7% of revenue in the first half of 2015.

Essentially, streaming has now totally overtaken downloading, with very few music fans purchasing one-off songs.

Another interesting bit is that at this same time last year, YouTube and other video streaming services brought in 4.9 million NOK, or $0.57 million, roughly around 1.6% of overall revenue.  This year, these same services, taking into consideration the 24 million NOK jump, only brought in 1.5% of revenue 4.7 million NOK, or $0.57 million, down about just .1%.

A final tidbit to notice is that vinyl sales continue to experience growth, with sales “increased by 4.3 [million] NOK, from 9.9 MNOK in 2015 to 14.2 MNOK in 2016, an increase of as much as 43%.

The past two years have been very good for the Norwegian music industry.  In 2014, overall revenue growth came to a screeching halt when, thanks to falling CD sales, which contributed only to 86 million NOK, or $1.1 million.  In just one year, CD sales fell 42%, causing one news site to signal the CD format in Norway on “the verge of death”.

What’s leading the rise in music sales?  Like other music groups have reported in their first quarterly reports, music streaming seems to be the huge factor once again in driving up music revenue, and subsequently, the fall in digital downloads.  The report states,

Revenue from streaming services such as Spotify, Wimp / Tidal and Apple Music is still the major drivers behind the significant rise in music sales so far this year.

This year, music streaming came to 278 million NOK, or $34.6 million, making up slightly over 83% of overall income, up from last year’s 248 million NOK, or $30 million, when music streaming accounted for a bit over 80% of music revenue. IFPI CEO Marte Thorsby said in the report,

Continued revenue growth in streaming services shows that the market is still not saturated and we believe in continued increase in sales in the years to come.”

He also expressed the following concern:

Our concern is that the income from the video stream incl. Youtube is still so low. Knowing that 25% of the population daily use YouTube, 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.

“It is necessary that we get a legal amendment that secures fair conditions of competition between these players.”


Candles for Norway image by L.C. Nøttaasen, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (2.0 by CC)

5 Responses

  1. Nicky Knight

    I’m not sure whether to be nervous or delighted..

  2. Sakis Gouzonis

    The article title is wrong. It should read “Music downloads SALES have been…”

    Free music downloads are still very very popular.

  3. Anonymous

    Mature streaming NIRVANA!
    Norway’s music business has SHRANK almost 60% since 2000 high
    at billion NOK = almost 1.4 B NOK today after inflation adjustment.

  4. Kurt

    There was never any serious download business in Norway thanks to Pirate Bay & Co. Without Spotify there would be no music business left in Scandinavia – fact

    • Remi Swierczek

      Spotify, AppleMusic unless they are at $49/month will continue to kill music!
      Still, YouTube is the main GESTAPO of music business.

      All tree prevent better methods of music monetization and keep $200B of annual music goodwill, OBVIOUS TO A STRANGER, percolating at $15 for almost five years.