The Norwegian music industry: A frontrunner in digital distribution and consumption of music

Tina Jeanett Martinsen & Torill Sjødin Drange

Student thesis: Master thesis


With the evolvement from analogue to digital production and distribution of music, the music industry in Norway has gone through major transformations. The music industry was the first of the creative industries to be affected by digitalization. Digital distribution has become widespread in Norway, which is one of the leading markets for digital music worldwide. Today, music can be accessed without consumers possessing a file or physical copy of a single or album, and the consumers have access to millions of songs at any time and place. The aim in this thesis was therefore to explore how this evolvement has affected the Norwegian music industry, in terms of distribution models, possibilities and challenges, and possible changes in the structure of the industry. The thesis’ theoretical framework included theories of innovation and creativity, combined with theory on attention economy and experience economy, as the music industry are affected by these concepts. Furthermore, Wikström’s audience-media-engine and typology of distribution models were applied as more specific theories on dynamics in the music industry (2009, 2012). Data was conducted through focus groups and individual interviews, with respectively consumers and actors in and around the music industry. The thesis used an exploratory approach to research, as the authors had little prior knowledge to the music industry and aimed to explore this in-depth and from a clear slate. The findings implied that the Norwegian music industry no longer perceive piracy as a threat, as streaming services have led the consumers to start paying for accessing music again, after many years of decreasing revenue. The last two years have showed an increase in revenue, and it was established that the Norwegian industry is optimistic about the future. Streaming leads to great opportunities for promotion, also across country borders, which leads to greater possibilities for Norwegian artists to succeed abroad. Furthermore, singles are found to be of increasing importance due to streaming, and this requires that artists are constantly staying visible and promoting themselves in various media outlets. Audience fragmentation have occurred, and artists need to be present wherever their audiences are, in order to reach out. Finally, the live market is still considered as the main source of income for artists, and streaming services are seen as promotional outlets to obtain audience at live shows.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages120