Swedish music sales 'boosted by Spotify'

Music sales in Sweden rose last year thanks to the growing popularity of music streaming service Spotify, the country's music industry body said, offering hope to a sector battered by file-sharing.

Last year was the best year for music sales in Sweden since 2005, according to data from the Swedish Recording Industry Association (GLF).

"This is a clear sign that more consumers are paying for their music consumption than for some time," the chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Sweden, Ludvig Werner, said in a statement.

"We hope that a recovering market for music will encourage artists and music companies to release more music," he added.

Music sales in the Nordic country rose 14 percent to 943.6 million kronor (108.9 million euros or $145.4 million) in 2012 from the previous year, boosted by a 12 percent increase in digital sales, which accounted for 63 percent of total music sales.

A total of 90 percent of digital sales came from music streaming services such as Spotify, the digital media juggernaut that was founded in 2006 by Swedes Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon.

Spotify first launched its service in 2008 in Sweden and says it has since become the world's largest streaming service.

It claims to have a catalogue of more than 18 million songs, more than 15 million active users and over four million paying customers.

However, Sweden has also been at the forefront of file-sharing activism, and in 2006 fans of the website Pirate Bay and similar sites formed the Pirate Party to campaign for copyright reform.

Founded in 2003, The Pirate Bay -- which boasts more than 30 million users -- makes it possible to skirt copyright fees and share music, film and other files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site.

A co-founder of the Swedish-based website, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, was handed a one-year prison sentence by a Swedish court in 2009 for promoting copyright infringement but failed to show up to serve his term.

He was detained in Sweden in September last year, days after his deportation from Cambodia.

  • Wednesday #sgroundup: Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia 1 hour 47 minutes ago
    Wednesday #sgroundup: Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Here are today’s top trending stories in case you missed them.

  • The Lotus breadvan: Flickr photo of the day 16 hours ago
    The Lotus breadvan: Flickr photo of the day

    The Lotus Europa was one of the stranger sports cars of the '70s, but still managed to corner like a sheepdog thanks to its low weight and fiberglass body. This example caught by Dave Lindsay is fairly typical of the nicer early '70s Type 62 Europas Lotus exported to the United States; by today's standards they're odd, underpowered and unreliable — which means they have a fervent fan base.

  • Inside MotoGP, elbow on asphalt at 210 mph 17 hours ago
    Inside MotoGP, elbow on asphalt at 210 mph

    In MotoGP, a most strange sport, compact, highly fit men, most of them Spanish, Italian, Japanese, or Australian, maneuver 350-lb., multimillion-dollar motorcycles around Formula One tracks at 220 mph while wearing computerized suits that inflate when they fall off at speed. It feels as though you’re watching Tron live, and the crashes are just as spectacular. Driving these things requires a lot of nerve, as well as generous levels of Euro-style machismo. The riders of MotoGP can’t walk down the street in Barcelona or Milan without being followed by screaming fans. They’re like some sort of unholy marriage between Daft Punk and Apollo astronauts. In the United States, they’re just guys walking down the street.

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • Fresh wave of Hello Kitty mania to descend on McDonald’s outlets in Singapore
    Fresh wave of Hello Kitty mania to descend on McDonald’s outlets in Singapore

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.