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Behind the music - profiting from sound

  • Publisert 01.03.2003
  • Sist oppdatert 09.06.2011
The popular music industry is a growing industry and an important contributor to national economies. Up until recently much of the public policy attention music has received has been in terms of cultural and social policy rather than the industrial policy and support it needs.

Frontpage report

It is essential that the music industry is targeted, like other important industries, with sound, well-formulated and supported industrial policies. On the basis of the work done by the participants in this project, it appears that there are a variety of areas in which both public sector and private sector actors can help the industry better achieve its potential. 

Six main target areas
In the report we identify challenges and action areas in which industry actors themselves can work. We also identify challenges and action areas where the public sector could usefully be engaged. It seems from the project that improving the competitiveness of the music industry is a job that can work best through partnership and cooperation both within the industry itself, and between the industry and outside actors such as the public sector and indeed related industries. 

This project found there to be six main target areas in which challenges and action areas can be identified and one general category.


  1. Firstly, there is a lack of accurate industrial statistics on the music industry. National statistical bodies in discussion with the industry and researchers should develop more accurate measures of music’s industrial structure and performance.
  2. Existing governmental and municipal policies in support of the arts and musical education remain an important underlying basis for a successful music industry and they should not be neglected in the future. However, work is needed to diversify cultural and musical policy to better include popular music.
  3. Governmental action on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights is crucial to the industry’s profitability and long term survival: all efforts must continue to be made to keep both legislation and policing of copyrights up-to-date and in line with international best practice. Measures should be taken to monitor and assess other the evolving structure of other countries’ copyright laws and regulations: such as, for instance, Germany’s recent introduction of a law that allows small copyright holders to renegotiate contracts previously made.
  4. Rapid change and the existence of many sharp practices in the wholesale and retail of music point to the need for competition authorities to investigate the structures and practices of the wholesale and retail of music.
  5. Rapid changes in technology are allowing firms to radically change the nature of musical products being sold in Nordic markets: e.g. copy protected CDs that will only play on certain types of equipment. Consumer rights bodies and organisations should examine the impact and legality of the introduction and development of such new technologies.
  6. The extraordinary sales boom that the reduction of value added taxes (moms) on books in had in Sweden points to the fact that decreasing sales taxes or value added taxes on musical products would act as a considerable stimulant to domestic demand. The sales taxes applied to both recorded and live music should be brought into line with the substantially lower rates of sales tax applied to other cultural products such as, for instance, books, newspapers, theatre performances.