Digital Pushes Music Sales Back To Growth In The Land Of Piracy

It may have spawned The Pirate Bay, have elected the Pirate Party to the European Parliament and have some of the world’s biggest pro-pirate advocates – but legal music sales in Sweden are now growing strong.

Sales in 2009 grew 10.2 percent to 861.4 million Swedish crowns after years of decline, the country’s IFPI office reports. Like UK figures reported last week, it’s digital that has turned around music sales from a decade of slump, growing 98.6 percent to account for 16.3 percent of all sales.

It’s streaming services that have contributed the greatest, growing from 17 percent of digital sales in 2008 to 46.1 percent last year. It’s unclear how streaming, which is usually associated with licensing income rather than purchasing revenue, translates to sales – ie. whether IFPI is counting only streaming subscriptions.

IFPI, which on Thursday releases its global annual report, credits more friendly, subscription and mobile services with helping the growth (in other words, Spotify?) But IFPI’s Swedish chief also tells Metro that the implementation of the European IPRED law, allowing labels to request ISP data on freeloaders, has helped cut piracy.

In October, IFPI said six out of 10 pirates were either pirating less or had stopped altogether because of IPRED.