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Study of digital music consumption: 80% of Nordic consumers use streaming services


Almost all Nordic consumers stream music, and 40% are premium subscribers. The most frequently used service is YouTube, with Spotify as number two, but music is also prominently featured on social media such as Facebook. 67% of the Nordic population agree that music creators should be compensated when their music is used in online services. 

The vast majority of all inhabitants in the Nordic countries are now digital music consumers. Across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, a total of 80 per cent of all inhabitants aged 12 to 65 have used at least one streaming service over the course of the last year.  

This is evident from The Polaris Nordic Digital Music Survey 2017. Published today, the survey has been carried out as a collaborative project involving the three Nordic collecting societies Koda (DK), Teosto (FIN) and TONO (N).

Free music dominates – with YouTube taking the lead

For the first time ever, the survey has taken a closer look at the relative shares of consumption held by paid and free consumption of digital music in the Nordic countries. Within the last year, 87% of all digital music consumers had streamed music from at least one free service, but already 40% of the users are premium subscribers, or are paying for music through a bundled service. National differences are however significant: in Sweden and Norway 48% of respondents have a paid subscription, in Denmark 43% and in Finland 22%. 

The most popular streaming service in the Nordic countries is YouTube. Within the last year, 60% of the population of the Nordic countries had used YouTube to stream music. Out of this group, 71% used the service at least weekly. Next on the list is Spotify: 50% of the population had used this service to stream music, and out of this group 77% used the service at least once a week.

Music is prominent on Facebook

Music is also prominently featured in social media, particularly Facebook. The survey shows that 35% of the Nordic population have watched music videos or videos containing music on social media at least once a week. What is more, 19% have seen or shared a concert on a social media, and out of this group at least 71% have done so on Facebook. The survey also reveals that 67% of the Nordic population agrees with the statement “I find it important that creators of music get a compensation when their works are used in online services”.

The Polaris societies Teosto, Koda and TONO are, together with 29 other European authors societies, working through the lobby organisation GESAC to convince the EU that Europe needs a new legislation that will ensure that platform services, typically social media, will be made eligible to pay rights holders fair remuneration when their music is used online. The survey reveals that a large portion of the Nordic population agree with this.

“The recent explosion in digital music consumption is a very positive thing: it testifies to how the legal and well-functioning streaming services are easily available and accessible and have become part of everyday life. However, the number of people who use free services are sadly significant, says Anders Lassen, CEO of Koda.

“Streaming services are the consumers dream, and for songwriters and artists they have made access to the market extremely easy. We are happy to see that more and more people are choosing paid premium subscriptions, but the “transfer of value” problem needs to be fixed. The survey shows that Facebook has become an important media for music consumption. It is necessary that the EU ensures a new legal framework that will allow music creators to have a fair share of the digital music economy, says Katri Sipilä, CEO of Teosto.

“Streaming services are still growing, and music is more easily available than ever before. We are pleased to see that so many people in the Nordics now prefer the premium subscriptons, and are happy to pay for their music consumption. However, the free services are still widely used, which makes it difficult for songwriters to make a decent living from music creation. We are particularly upset about the large use of music on Facebook not contributing to the livelihood for the songwriters, says Cato Strøm, CEO of TONO.

For more information on this study, view the infographics

About the Polaris Nordic Digital Music Survey 2017

The Polaris Nordic Digital Music survey was carried out in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden in April and May 2017. Conducted by YouGov, the survey was targeted at Internet users aged 12 to 65 and attracted a total of 4,047 online respondents (1,000+ per country). The survey was commissioned by the three Nordic collecting societies Koda (Denmark), TEOSTO (Finland) and Tono (Norway), who formed the Polaris Nordic Alliance in 2013. The survey is the third of its kind; the first was carried out in 2014.

For further information, please contact:

Ano Sirppiniemi, Teosto, Head of Research, tel. +358 50 325 6530 

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