1. Introduction to the Market
GDP per capita 37 351 €
Finland is well known for its music culture – especially in the metal and classical genres, both of which have seen significant international success. However, indie music, jazz and contemporary folk music are thriving.
The country’s music industry is concentrated around Helsinki, Finland’s capital, which has around one million inhabitants. Other important cities are Tampere, Oulu and Turku.
The Finnish music business has been growing steadily for the past three years – and especially in the live market, which now accounts for almost 50% of industry revenues.
Finnish innovation technology, including mobile phones, games and apps, is a large and important part of the Finnish economy. Their impact can also be seen in Finnish music business.
2. Record Labels, Licensing and Distribution
In 2014, overall sales of recorded music accounted to 46.4 million euros. 51% of recorded sales were on digital formats – while homegrown repertoire represented 67 % of sales.
However, there is also evidence of a sharp change in music consumption. In 2014, recorded sales decreased by 34%, whereas streaming increased by 28%. Vinyl sales increased by 14% (IFPI Finland, Music Finland).
Recorded market shares are dominated by international majors – with Warner Music Finland (32.5 %), Universal Music (30.6 %) and Sony Music (27.7) %. However, the independent sector is strong and well-renowned. Independent labels are represented by IndieCo ry, (www.indieco.fi) a Finnish independent record producers association, whose purpose is to develop Finnish indie labels’ working environment and support cultural diversity.
2.1 Record Labels
Pop, rock, indie, metal:
Warner Music Finland
Sound of Finland
KHY Suomen Musiikki Oy
The Finnish Music Publishers Association (Musiikkikustantajat ry) was founded in 1976 as an um-brella organisation for representing the interests of Finnish music publishers. The association has 37 publisher members.
4. Performance Rights
Teosto is the copyright organisation for composers, lyricists, arrangers and music publishers. NCB – Nordic Copyright Bureau is responsible for the administration of mechanical rights. In 2014 Teo-sto paid 52.3 million Euros to rights holders.
GRAMEX, Copyright Society of Performing Artists and Phonogram Producers in Finland, adminis-ters and promotes the performance rights of artists, musicians and record labels. GRAMEX paid out 18,5 million Euros in 2014.
5.1 Pop, rock, indie and metal
Till Dawn They Count Management LTD
Grey Beard Concerts & Management
Blue Buddha Management
Heartagram Ltd Comusic Productions
Kieku Music Management (Kaiku Studios)
5.2 Jazz, world and folk
Minnamurra Music Management & Agency
Annamaija Music Company
Agency Minna-Mari Roms
From a financial perspective, the live market is the most important part of the Finnish music industry. Large events, festivals, clubs and concerts gather big audiences. The club season spans from September to May, whereas festivals dominate the summer months of June, July and August.
The live music industry is growing and the overall amount of people attending festivals grew by 9% from 2013 to 2014.
Some of the major venues and festivals are listed below.
A significant number of festivals take place around the country during the summer (June-August). Some of the major and most popular ones include:
6.4 Networking Events
The most important networking event for the music industry is Music & Media Finland, an annual conference that takes place each October in Tampere. The event gathers 600 Finnish professionals and 100 international professionals. The Lost In Music showcase festival is held as a part of Music & Media Finland.
Mars is another networking event, which is held in Seinäjoki in February.
EARS is a series of events dedicated to introducing the latest trends and developments between Europe and Asia.
15 symphony orchestras and 15 smaller orchestras are active across the country – from Helsinki to the European Union’s northernmost orchestra in Rovaniemi. The likes of Avanti! and the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra are well known also beyond the Finnish borders.
Turun filharmoninen orkesteri
Lahden kaupunginorkesteri – Sinfonia Lahti
UMO Jazz Orchestra
Helsinki’s Finnish National Opera is the main venue for Finnish opera. In addition, there are several small opera associations and two important opera festivals, the Savonlinna Opera Festival and the festival of West Coast Kokkola Opera.
7. Media, PR and Promotion
Digital media is largely dominated by national broadcasting company YLE, with 99% of the Finnish population using their services. Programming is delivered in both Finnish and Swedish.
YLE hosts several public TV channels. The largest commercial channels outside of YLE’s networks are MTV3, Nelonen and SubTV. Both public and commercial channels host several music-related shows, although their focus lies heavily on domestic artists.
Yle: Radio Suomi, Yle Radio 1, YleX, among others. YleX is the main youth channel and usually introduces new music.
Yle X3M and Yle Vega are Swedish speaking stations, that play a significant amount of music sung in Swedish.
Commercial stations: Radio Nova, SuomiPOP, Iskelmä, Radio Rock, NRJ.
Independent and local stations: Basso, Classic, Radio Helsinki
Rumba – also print
Inferno – also print
Soundi – also print
Rosvot.fi – blog portal, consists of 19 music blogs with different focus
Nyt.fi – weekend magazine by national newspaper Helsinging Sanomat
The most important newspapers are:
Hufvudstadsbladet (in Swedish)
8.1 Value-added tax (VAT)
Finland is a member of the EU and the same international VAT legislation is applied as in the other EU countries.
The standard VAT rate is 24%. This rate also applies to record sales.
Music performance fees are VAT free. It is also VAT free for agencies to sell performances to promoters or other agencies.
The transferring of copyrighted artistic material (like recordings) between parties is also VAT free, as well as payments for use of copyrighted material to the copyright holder. However, if such payments are made to an organisation representing the copyright holder, they will be eligible for VAT (10%).
8.2 Importing goods and services
There are separate rules for fixed establishments in Finland and foreign businesses. If you stay less than six months in Finland your business is considered as ‘foreign’.
Foreigners who conduct business through a fixed establishment in Finland are VAT liable in Finland and entered in the VAT register, just as a Finnish business would be.
When the seller is a foreign business with no fixed establishment in Finland and has not applied for VAT registration in Finland, it is the Finnish buyers of goods and services who are liable to pay and report the VAT (reverse charge). The threshold for VAT liability is €8,500 – although this is not applicable to foreigners with no fixed establishment in Finland.
Reverse charge procedures for VAT are not applicable in the following situations. Instead, the foreign seller always has to register for VAT in Finland if:
1. The buyer is a foreigner (i.e. not from Finland) with no fixed establishment and no VAT registration in Finland.
2. The buyer is a private individual.
3. Sales of goods from another EU member state are taking place to private individuals in Finland.
4. The services being sold involve entrance permission granted to a business to attend cultural events, fair or exhibitions or other similar activities; as well as services related directly to the entrance, provided the event is carried out in Finland.
5. The services being sold involve: consumer services related to cultural events, fairs and exhibitions, or other similar activities, as well as organisation of these events; provided the activity is carried out in Finland.
If a foreign business has no tax domicile and no fixed establishment in any EU country, then they need tohave a representative approved by Finnish Tax Administration to qualify for VAT liability. The representative should be domiciled in Finland and prepared to take care of the administrative obligations regarding VAT on behalf of the foreign business.
8.3 Income tax for foreign artists
Any artist who is paid to perform in Finland is eligible for income tax. The tax rate is 15% and is charged regardless whether the payment is made as a salary or as another kind of payment. Even if the payment is made to a foreign agency the tax is still charged.
The 15% income tax for foreign artists is not deductible. However, it is possible to apply for tax-free refunds from an employer for verified costs for travelling and accommodation.
If you have only been performing and already paid the artist income tax then you do not need to file your taxes in Finland. In this case you are entitled to a certificate by your employer, showing that you have paid your taxes. The certificate can be useful when you want to avoid double taxation when returning to your home country.
It is recommended that you check best practices with your accountant.
Useful and practical tax information about taxation of Nordic citizens in all Nordic languages can be found on Nordisk eTax.
Sources and additional information (in English, Finnish and Swedish):