1. Introduction to the Market
GDP per capita: $55,300
Norway’s domestic music market has gained significant global attention over recent years due to the disproportional take-up of streaming services. During the first half of 2015, the Norwegian recorded market grew by 6.5% compared to the previous year. The revenue from different streaming services accounted for a massive 81% of all recorded music revenue for said period (IFPI Norway, 2015). Downloads are on a steady decrease.
Norway’s wider economy has also outperformed the rest of Europe, characterized by high income levels, low interest rates and a technologically advanced society. As a result, Norway’s domestic music market is ranked as the world’s 11th largest. Quite impressive given the nation’s scarce 5M population.
2. Record Labels, Licensing & Distribution
Only a very small portion of the recorded music sales in Norway are physical. In the first half of 2015, the physical sales increased a tiny bit thanks to vinyl, which now accounts for 24% of all physical formats.
According to the 2015 IFPI Norway report for the first half of 2015, music released by Norwegian labels accounted for a ca 75% stake of Norway’s recorded music market.
Some of the key domestic indie labels include:
Bare Bra Musikk
Cosmos Music Group
LAWO Propeller Recordings
Norway retains a number of independent distributors and digital aggregators, including:
Norway’s publishing sector is relatively small but still highly active. Annual turnover for the sector is estimated at approximately 100mNOK. The publishing sector is represented by its trade organisation NMFF – the Norwegian Publishers’ Association.
Some of the main independent publishing companies include:
3.2 Songwriting camps
Norway is also home to two songwriting camps that encourage different creative collaborations:
Trondheim Calling SONG:EXPO: The co-writing camp is held annually in late January and attracts international song writers, A&Rs and publishers which are teamed up with domestic writers to create a vibrant meeting point in which leads are provided and songs pitched for markets in the US, Germany, UK and Asia.
Waterfall Songwriting Camps: The Oslo-based music publishing company runs a string of songwriting camps for their in-house talent domestically as well as abroad.
4. Performance Rights
Tono is Norway’s Performing Rights Society and represents more than 22 000 Norwegian composers, authors and publishers. Administration of mechanical rights on the Norwegian market is administered by NCB – Nordic Copyright Bureau.
Gramo is the joint collection society in Norway for musicians, performing artists and phonogram producers.
Key Norwegian management companies include:
Norway has a well-developed and well-funded live music sector, renowned for its quality and professionalism. More than 20% of the population attends a music festival every year and Oslo, in particular, despite a population of only 600,000 is home to a wide range of venues. The best known of these is undoubtedly the Rockfeller complex, which incorporates the Rockefeller Music Hall (capacity: 1350), Sentrum Scene (capacity: 1750) and the John DEE Live Club & Pub (capacity 400).
Other notable venues in Norway’s capital include Café Mono, Kampen Bistro, Blå and Parkteatret, while other cities like Bergen, Fredrikstad, Kristiansand, Stavanger and Trondheim also have strong live music scenes.
In addition to commercially run concert halls, Norway also has more than 100 publicly funded cultural houses in cities and municipalities throughout the country – including:
6.1 Booking Agents
Live Nation has offices in Oslo, but there are many Norwegian promoters and booking agents who focus on the domestic market, including:
It has been said that every little Norwegian town and village has its own festival. From May to September more than 200 festivals are staged throughout the country. Below is a selection of each genre’s main events:
Contemporary and Classical:
Bergen International Festival
ICMF International Chamber Music Festival Stavanger
Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival
Oslo Chamber Music Festival
St. Olav Festival
Oslo International Church Music Festival
Risør Chamber Music Festival
Festival of North Norway
Trondheim Chamber Music Festival
Norway’s five largest cities sport a symphony orchestra of their own with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra fronting a strong sector that is active at home and abroad.
The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
The Trondheim Symphony Orchestra
Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra
The Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra
Stavanger Symphony Orchestra
Norwegian Radio Orchestra
The Norwegian opera scene is spearheaded by Oslo’s Norwegian National Opera, which stages large and smaller operas at its spectacular icebergesque opera house by the capital’s waterfront.
7. Media, PR & Promo
TV broadcasting is dominated by public broadcaster NRK – the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation with its three channels (NRK1, NRK2 and NRK3/NRKSuper). Trailing behind is commercial broadcaster TV2 with its five channels. TV Norge is third on the list.
NRK is also dominant on the radio waves. Coming in second is the commercial station P4 while Radio Norge is third.
A quartet of music-specific sites that focus on album reviews, festival reports, artist interviews and live reviews:
Akersgata, the Norwegian equivalent to Fleet Street, encompasses several dailies that feature album reviews, festival reports and, to some extent, artist interviews:
A string of niche-oriented, high-quality music magazines have a loyal user base in Norway and cover their respective genres thoroughly:
8. Networking Arenas
Oslo’s by:Larm is widely regarded as one of the Nordic music scene’s premier networking arenas and showcasing festivals. The event is staged annually mid-February in Oslo and features a wealth of showcases with Nordic bands and performers, seminars, meeting arenas and creative networking sessions.
Øya International is the Oslo festival’s programme for its foreign delegates and offers a tailored package for the participants with exclusive concerts, networking sessions and social events.
Molde Jazz Expo is a newcomer on the music industry networking circuit and is staged in conjunction with the Molde International Jazz Festival in mid to late July. International music industry reps, journalists and other key delegates are treated to a tailored programme with concerts, scenic trips and networking opportunities.
After a one-year hiatus, Folkelarm is back as the Norwegian folk/trad/world music scene’s premier meeting point and showcasing festival. Held at Oslo’s Riksscenen – the Norwegian Hub for Traditional Music and Dance, the showcase festival also features seminars and networking arenas for domestic as well as international folk music execs.
The Norwegian contemporary music scene’s main festival is without doubt the Ultima
Oslo Contemporary Music Festival. The festival also features a tailored programme for its invited foreign delegates
9.1 Value-added tax (VAT)
Norway is not a member of the EU, and therefore extra attention should be applied to the country’stax legislation – although the Norwegian VAT Act is largely based upon the EC Sixth VAT Directive .
The standard rate for VAT in Norway is 25%.
The sale of music performances is VAT free. However, if an intermediary is involved, like a booking agency, then the middle hand’s eventual fee is subject to VAT. The artist’s fee is not subject to VAT.
NormalVAT rate of 25% is collected on record sales.
9.2 Importing goods to Norway
Foreign businesses that only supply goods or services into the country do not need to pay Norwegian VAT when selling. However, the importation of goods is a taxable event and VAT is payable at the time of importation by the owner of the goods.
VAT is calculated and collected by Customs and Excise and, in terms of imports, is calculated on the customs value.
It is the owner of the goods who must pay VAT on the importation of goods. It is irrelevant whether a consumer or a taxable person imports the goods. For persons and companies in the VAT register, all VAT on imports is deductible.
9.3 Importing services to Norway
When importing tangible services to Norway (i.e. services that cannot be supplied from a remote location) the foreign business must register for VAT in Norway.
For intangible services (i.e. services that can be supplied from a remote location, for instance consultancy services or digital services) it is the recipient’s duty to pay the VAT if they are established in Norway.
9.4 Income tax for foreign artists
If you only stay in Norway for a ‘limited time’ (under 182 days in any 12 month period) you are not viewed as a ‘resident’ and will be taxed as a ‘foreign artist’.
The tax for foreign artistes is 15% of their gross income – although travel and other expenses can be deducted providing they can be substantiated.
Foreign artist tax is payable irrespective of whether the income is paid to the artist him/herself, a representative, commission agent or a business enterprise.
Any performances must be reported by a promoter or event organiser to the Central Office – Foreign Tax Affairs (COFTA) no later than three weeks before its scheduled date.
The form RF-1091 ”Information on artist(s) from event organiser/hirer-out of venue” is used for reporting the events or performances.
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 Norwegian):