1. Introduction to the Market
Population: 9,6 million
GDP per capita: $57,297
Sweden has earned a global reputation for producing and exporting successful pop music, with the success of ABBA in the 1970s (and later bands like Europe, Roxette and Ace of Base) beating a path that today’s Swedish artist are still following – whether that’s songwriters/producers like Max Martin and RedOne or artists such as Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, Robyn or Lykke Li. The country remains one of only three net exporters of musical repertoire in the world.
However, Swedish music is more diverse than pure pop. The independent scene, for instance, grows bigger and more influential each day – combining melancholy with a touch of happiness (but not too much), that has been proven to be very popular all over the world.
The country is also host to an amazing metal scene and an increasing number of urban acts. Meanwhile, a well-oiled system of music schools, music clubs, collecting societies, and the accessibility to be able to work with music has schooled many technically excellent musicians, not least in the fields of jazz and classical.
As with other Nordic territories, there has been a significant attention paid to the uptake and growth of streaming – and particularly of homegrown service Spotify, which appears to have dramatically curbed the usage of Sweden’s other significant (though perhaps more notorious) contribution to digital music: the Pirate Bay. When Spotify launched in 2008, piracy in Sweden was endemic.
In 2014, the recorded market decreased by 0.4%. Out of the total music sales revenue, 83.8% is digital, with streaming contributed to 79.8% of recorded revenues. Physical decreased by 33.8% and now accounts for 15.4% of the market (IFPI, 2015).
2. Record Labels, Distribution & Licensing
The Swedish recorded music market has bucked international trends for a number of years – not only by displaying continuous growth, but through the enduring popularity of streaming services (notably Spotify).
The vast majority of Swedish record labels are represented by IFPI Sweden, which aims to represents its members in national and European politics, as well as lobby in their interests.
Major and independent record labels working in Sweden include:
Rock, pop, indie, electronic and metal
A Tendervision Recording
A West Side Fabrication
Bad Taste Records
Black Mark Production
Blue Ball Music
Capitol Music Group
Dead Frof Records
Electric Fantastic Sound
Lionheart Music Group
Start Klart Music
Warner Music Sweden
Music companies working with music publishing in Sweden include:
Abraham Lundquist Musikförlag
Lionheart Music Group
Razor Boy Music Publishing
Music Super Circus
Universal Music Publishing
Ten Music Group
Stiggy Music & Management
Streoscope Music Scandinavia
Sound Pollution Distribution
4. Performance Rights
STIM collects revenues on behalf of 71,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers and has bilateral agreements in place with collecting societies all over the world.
SAMI collects performance royalties for artists, musicians and record labels and has reciprocal partnerships in place with over 40 performer organisations in Europe, North and South America, and Asia.
Music companies working with artist management in Sweden include:
Stereoscope Music Scandinavia
Lionheart Music Group
Ten Music Group
Way Out West
Stockholm Music and Arts
Sthlm Jazz Fest
Peace & Love World Forum
Getaway Rock Festival
7. Media, PR & Promo
The larges national newspapers in Sweden are:
Here is an extensive list of the various Swedish radio stations.
Relevant TV-news programs:
8. Networking Arenas
Where’s the Music? is arranged in the city of Norrköping, about 160 km south-west of Stockholm.
Where’s the Music? was a arranged for the first time in 2015 and hosted 144 acts and 32 speakers. There is an open-for-all concert and showcase part as well as an industry event with a networking and conference program.
9.1 Value-added Tax
B2B trade between businesses eligible to pay VAT is generally tax free inside of the EU. With B2B-trade, it is the responsibility of the buyer to pay VAT according to the buying country’s laws. However, the buyer is allowed to apply for a refund when submitting their taxes, which makes the transaction practically tax-free. When selling to consumers, tax is collected by the country of the provider.The same thing goes for services: the buyer country collects the VAT when the buyer is registered for VAT.If the buyer is not registered for VAT (in other words, the buyer is a consumer) the VAT is collected in the provider country.
The standard VAT rate for Sweden is 25%. Invoicing for an artist performance is VAT-free if the performance takes places in front of an audience and as long as it is the artist who sends the invoice. If the invoice is sent by a third party (e.g. a booking agency) the VAT rate is 25%.
The VAT rate for admittance fees to concerts and live performances is 6%. This tax is usually collected by the promoter. For works of art covered by the copyright law (e.g. records) the tax rate is 6%.
9.2 Income tax
As an artist, you are also obliged to pay a 15% tax (A-SINK) on all income you earned in Sweden – typically the payment you receive for performing.
However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For instance, royalties and other copyright-based payments are tax-free. Busking is also tax-free, as well as refunds for travel and accommodation expenses.
It is the responsibility of the promoter to report and pay an artist’s income tax. Reporting and statementsareprepared in the same way as a promoter’s other employees.
If you are employed during your time of performance (i.e. you are being paid a salary) your employer also needs to pay a payroll tax. However, if you are invoicing through a company your employer/buyer does not need to pay payroll tax, as only the transaction is taxed as income (15%).
If you have only paid income tax then you do not need to file your taxes in Sweden.
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 Swedish):