The latest figures from the International Federation of the Phonografic Industry (IFPI) state that on a global scale, sales of recorded music are down 9.2 % in value in this year’s first half. The Norwegian market was less affected by this trend, showing a modest 0,2% increase. Norwegian artists also experienced growth in sales, up from a mediocre 14% to 17%. Compared to September 2001, sales of Norwegian records have increased by a whopping 81%! Throughout the Norwegian music industry the same hopeful question is voiced: could this be the end of a long period of disappointingly low Norwegian sales?
Accumulated sales so far indicate a 6% growth compared to last year. This figure is expected to increase as the traditionally more lucrative November and December sales kick in.
MP3 downloading and mass CD-R copying are some factors IFPI attributes to the global slump in sales. However, some are voicing concern whether if this assertion holds true. Norway is at the forefront when it comes to Internet access and download capacity. The question raised by some is: shouldn’t record sales continue to drop as broadband access improves and digital downloading increases? An interesting comment comes from a representative of one the market’s biggest players: IFPI affiliated Universal Music. Says Universal’s Sales Manager Harald Tømte in a statement to music industry publication Faro Journalen: Norway has been at the cutting edge when it comes to technological development – maybe we now have reached a point where many have lost their initial fascination with digital downloading? The generation that grew up with the notion of a record being a total concept is able to appreciate the full value of an original recording. If we can convey this attitude to the next generation, that buying an original product is associated with value, then we’ll have made a substantial achievement.
Will Norway be a trend-setter? Will we see a global increase in sales and decrease in digital downloads? It’s too early to tell, but what remains certain is that the Norwegian industry is facing one of its most positive autumns in years.
The Music Information Centre Norway will monitor the development on the Norwegian market and post updates on www.mic.no