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[Meet Thorsten Freese from Believe Digital] Networking på Spot Festival

Linus Lassus

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A lot of international music industry folks have already confirmed that they’re on their way to this year’s edition of Spot Festival in Århus. During the coming weeks, MXD would like to highlight a few of the international guests that you will be able to meet at the festival.

Thorsten Freese is the Managing Director for GSA and Scandinavia and international distribution director for the independent digital distribution company Believe Digital. Today the services Believe Digital provides to labels include distribution to all major digital music services, management of the platforms, related reporting and additional label services such as marketing . The company was founded in Paris and employs over 300 people worldwide. There are offices in many key areas, including USA, UK, Germany and France.

Thorsten started out as a musician and producer and went on to found a label and a small digital distribution company. That company was later purchased by Believe Digital, and that’s how Thorsten over time acquired his current position. He says his background as a musician is a benefit in his work.

-I manage more than 20 people and have global leadership responsibilities within Believe. Yet I also used to be an artist myself and therefore have a strong affinity and love for the music… I believe that is my strength – that I encompass both leadership skills with a keen understanding and love for what we do.

In 2013, Believe Digital opened an office in Denmark, and is now working wth some of the major Danish indie labels. Thorsten says that for Believe Digital Denmark is both an important source for great music, as well as a well-developed digital market, where music is mainly consumed in a digital format.It’s generally well known that Germany is a physical market, so it might seem a bit strange to have such big office for digital services placed there. But Thorsten points out a few things regarding the statistics.

– As you have probably seen in the new IFPI numbers for 2014 we (Germany) are still a 70% physical market, but digital keeps on growing here and Germany is actually the world’s 4th biggest digital market – in spite of the low digital market growth, he says. Though he adds that the proportions are very different to Scandinavia, where the digital market share is around 62-73%.

-Scandinavia is a pioneering digital market, with an amazing digital market share In fact, when we add up the 2014 numbers for Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland the region is the world’s 5th biggest digital music market.

Earlier, Andrew Campbell from Gordeon Music Promotion mentioned that there might be differences in how music is consumed depending on the genre. When asked the same question, Thorsten suggests the same thing.

-I am no friend of generalizations, but of course certain trends can be seen. For example the younger the target group is the better for the digital formats. For example, youth oriented hip hop and electronic music is often a much better streaming product than classical music, which usually has a much more mature and physical-product-oriented target group.

A fair share of the industry people visiting Spot keeps coming back, and Thorsten is not an exception. He says he’s a big fan of Denmark in general and often visits just for holidays. But it’s also partly business as usual.

-Believe Digital has big business interests in Scandinavia, so we actually bring a lot of staff members and we host our brunch on Saturday. SPOT is also an excellent event in itself, and the music is great! In other words, I have no legitimate reason not to go.

So, what’s the first thing you will do when you arrive in Århus?

I will network while enjoying some good shows with new Scandinavian acts!

Find links to other profiles at the bottom of this article.

  • Mød mere end 300 internationale musikbranchefolk og -journalister i SPOT+ området
  • Meld dig til MXD Networking (Lørdag d. 2. maj. kl. 13:30-15.00) i SPOT+ området nu, og modtag en liste over alle internationale delegerede, ca. 14 dage inden festivalen starter. Tilmelding her: anders@mxd.dk
  • Køb adgang til SPOT+ området og få adgang til bl.a. MXD Networking her: spotplus.dk
  • Følg med her på mxd.dk, Facebook og Twitter, hvor vi løbende vil præsentere de internationale profiler, der gæster årets festival