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A Brief Overview of The Danish Music Market (Edition: 2020)

Laura Dalgaard

Intro

Population: 5 800 000

GDP per capita: $61.350

The Kingdom of Denmark comprises the mainland country as well as the sovereign constitute countries of the Faroe Islands and Greenland in the North Atlantic. Denmark has a very strong domestic music market with a publicly supported live sector (with many successful festivals such as Roskilde), significant digital penetration (including a high uptake of streaming services), and a high level of music education.

Danish acts who have broken internationally include MØ, Volbeat, Lukas Graham, Martin Jensen, and Agnes Obel.

State support of the live market allows homegrown artists to develop internally before they head out to the international markets – making Denmark and its cities one of Scandinavia’s most important hubs for electronic and alternative pop music. Lately, despite the country’s relatively small size, the structure of the industry has started to look more and more like the British or German industries.

According to the latest (a new report is expected in 2020) analysis by Rambøll, “Dansk Musikomsætning 2017”:

  • 35% (DKK 3.3 bn) of the Danish music industry’s total revenues derives from recorded music, including publishing revenues –royalties from radio and TV licensing etc. Like the other Nordic countries streaming totally dominates the Danish market.   
  • 65% (DKK 6 bn) of the total revenues derives from the live music sector, which has also enjoyed faster growth than recorded music over the last decade.
  • The music industry in Denmark has shown a 52% growth from 2012-2017.
  • DKK 0.9 bn of the above DKK 9.3 bn total industry revenue derives from the export of Danish recorded music and live concerts and the export of Danish music has shown a 83% growth from 2012-2017. 

Labels, Distribution and Licensing

Denmark follows the trend among the other Nordic countries when it comes to recorded music. Over the last decade, the CD has almost vanished and according to IFPI’s 2019 numbers, the market for recorded music is now 91,7% digital. Downloads have also diminished over the past 10 years now representing only 2,5% of total digital revenue. Vinyl has shown strong numbers in the last three years and represented 4,5 of total revenue while the CD has lost its impact now only representing 3,6% of the market down from 74,7% ten years prior.

Out of the total revenue for recorded music sales in Denmark, 34,2% derives from Danish acts – a decrease in percentage compared to previous years but not in revenue as we have seen overall revenue growth. Danish acts accounted for 33% of total streams in 2019. This percentage should be seen in context to the fact that the Danes are streaming more than ever before. In 2015 the Danes streamed a total of 5,4 billion streams and that number hit 10,9 in 2019 constituting an all-time high for the total number of streams.

Record Labels
The three international major labels UniversalSony and Warner Music all have offices in Copenhagen.

Bigger Danish indie labels and distributors include:

Pop rock and metal
Playground
Beachy Records
No 3
GL Music
Discowax
Mermaid
Copenhagen Records
Bad Afro Records
Crunchy Frog
Escho
Iceberg Records
Indisciplinarian
Anyines
Thambourhinoceros
Hun Solo Records
Nordic Music Society
The Big Oil
The Being Music
Tigerspring
Target
The Bank
Prime Collective
Stunt Records

Jazz
Barefoot Records
ILK music
Cowbell Music

Distribution
Playground
Minimum Recordings
Machinedrops Productions
Target

Here you can find an extensive list of most Danish record labels, big and small.

Publishing

Out of the big international publishers, Warner/Chappell is represented in Copenhagen. Sony ATV and Universal Music Publishing both have their respective Nordic offices in Stockholm, Sweden.

In addition to the majors, there are several native independent publishers with good connections to the Danish entertainment and film industry. Some of the bigger domestic indie labels also have their own publishing departments.

The publisher’s role is increasingly shifting towards becoming somewhat of a manager for songwriters, rather than “just” a publisher.

Publishers

Warner/Chappell Music Denmark
GL Music
The Bank
Crunchy Tunes
Iceberg Publishing
Lifted Publishing ApS
Edition Wilhelm Hansen
No C!gar
One Seven Publishing
Nordic Music Society ApS
Panam Publishing
T. G. Publishing ApS
Tigerspring Publishing
Turner Music International
Sundance Publishing
The Arrangement 
Glass Music 

More publishing companies can be found here.

Performance Rights

Collection of royalties and performance rights to songwriters go through Koda, the Danish performance rights organisation. Koda is well connected to other collection societies in the music industry and particularly those from the other Nordic territories.

Management

Despite Denmark’s relatively small size, the country has a number of notable independent management companies – some of which are combined with a label or booking agency.  

Danish management companies include:

Heartbeat Music
Then We Take The World 
Bold Arrow
Escho
Stellar Music 
Yellow Tag
Labelmade
Pull Up Management
Kaja Management
Sierra 79
ATC Management 
The Bank
Vuf Empire
PDH Music
Glass Management 
The Music Company

A complete list of management companies can be found here.

Live

The Danish live market is publicly supported by the government. As a result, there is a network of regional venues with audience development responsibilities that allow smaller acts to play professional shows. Additionally, there is an industry-wide agreement on artists’ fees.

Due to Denmark’s relatively small size, touring is quite accessible with short distances between towns. However, since large parts of the country consist of islands separated by water, fees must be paid to cross some of the bigger bridges.

The country also hosts many popular festivals, the biggest of which include Smukfest in Skanderborg, NorthSide Festival in Århus, Copenhell Festival in Copenhagen, Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, and Tinderbox Festival in Odense.

Venues

Copenhagen
Pumpehuset
Bremen Teater
Hotel Cecil
BETA
Amager Bio
Copenhagen Jazzhouse
Tivoli
Alice
Huset KBH
KB18
Koncerthuset (DR)
Loppen
Rust
VEGA
Spillestedet Stengade

Århus
RADAR
Train
Voxhall

Others
STARS
Fermaten
Gimle
Godset
Klaverfabrikken
Posten
Slagelse Musikhus
Studenterhus Odense
Studenterhuset Aalborg
Templet
Forbrændingen

Festivals
Roskilde
Heartland
Northside
Tinderbox
Grimfest
Copenhell
Gong tomorrow
Danmarks Smukkeste Festival
Wonderfestiwall
Alive Festival
Badesoen
Tønder Festival
Samsø Festival
Nibe Festival
Jelling Musikfestival
Gutter Island Garagerock Festival
Distortion Festival 
Uhørt Festival
Musik I Lejet 

For a more complete list please see this overview of members of Dansk Live (includes festivals and venues)

Booking Agencies
Danish booking agencies include:

Bullet Booking
3rd Tsunami
Heartbeat Music
Beatbox Booking
Copenhagen Music
Down the Drain
Gearbox Agency
ICO Concerts
Live Nation
PDH Music
Skandinavian
Smash! Bang! Pow!
Luger
The Artist
The Music Company
Prime Collective

Media, PR, and Promotion

Print and Online
The main print magazine for music is Gaffa, which is published in all three Scandinavian countries (translated by language). Another important Danish magazine is Soundvenue. Both are widely read by music consumers and are seen as the main publications for Danish and international music as well as the music industry. All print magazines have online editions.

Relevant music, culture, and lifestyle outlets include:

Gaffa
Soundvenue
Noisey/Vice
iByen by Politiken (Copenhagen only)

Major newspapers also cover culture and music, especially festivals. The biggest national newspapers are:

Politiken
Berlingske Tidende
Extra-Bladet (tabloid)
Dagbladet Information
Jyllands-Posten

There are a couple of Danish music blogs, but they generally have a very small impact on the market. Most big international blogs are well-known and read.

Blogs:

Regnsky
Bands of Tomorrow
Passive Aggressive

Radio
The most popular radio station for new music is P3, which is owned and run by public broadcasting company DR (Danmarks Radio). Another relevant radio station is P6 Beat, which is also public but smaller and focuses on contemporary, alternative, and niche genres. P5 focuses on pop music.

For more specialized radio The Lake is a good example.

Commercial radio

The Voice
Nova FM
POP FM

A complete list of radio stations can be found here. Please note that regional radio in Denmark has very few listeners compared to for example Germany.

PR Companies
The media field in Denmark is relatively small and it is not unusual for PR work to be undertaken in-house. However, there are several promo-agencies to choose from should you be in need of external PR services:

Nordic Waves
Prime Collective
Friendly PR

Networking Arenas

Spot festival – April/May
The most important networking and showcase event in Denmark is Spot festival in Århus. Spot festival has been arranged every year since 1995, currently around April and May. The three-day festival attracts most of the Danish industry and several international delegates from the Nordic countries and the rest of Europe, especially Germany. Rock, pop, and electronic music are all well represented, but there are no official restrictions.

When Copenhell Freezes Over – January
As a part of the run-up to Copenhell Festival, a showcase called When Copenhell Freezes Over is arranged in January for rock and metal music. The first festival was arranged in 2015 and showcased mostly Danish artists.

Taxation

Value-added Tax
As Denmark is a member of the European Union, 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 standard and only VAT-rate for Denmark is 25%. Invoicing a promoter for a music performance is VAT-free, although entrance tickets and records are not.

Selling copyrights is subject to VAT.

If your business is domiciled outside of the EU it is possible to apply for a refund on the VAT when purchasing goods in Denmark. More information here.

If your income from sales within Denmark is less than DKK 50,000 during any 12 month period then you do not need to register for VAT. However, if you exceed that sum you should register for VAT at skat.dk. You can find more information here.

It is recommended that you check best practices with your local tax authorities and your accountant.

Income tax
If you are an EU or EEA citizen and stay in Denmark for six months or more then you are eligible to pay tax. The tax system for individuals on the payroll is quite complex and includes a labour market contribution and municipal taxes, as well as health and social security contributions.

It is very likely that a performing artist will be regarded as a receiver of a fee by the tax authorities rather than as an individual on the payroll – especially if the payments or the work/performance does not take place consistently for the same employer. When you are being paid a fee, the same rules apply as for Danish VAT – if it exceeds DKK 50,000 during any twelve-month period you should contact Skat.

It is recommended that you check best practices with your local tax authorities and your accountant.

Sources and more information:

http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/work/taxes/income-taxes-abroad/denmark/index_en.htm

http://www.skat.dk/SKAT.aspx?oId=2064100&vId=0

http://www.skat.dk/SKAT.aspx?oId=2159150&vId=0

http://www.skat.dk/SKAT.aspx?oId=2122141&vId=0