Norwegian artists continue to increase their stake of the Norwegian record sales, while the total sales figures show a clear negative tendency. Lack of new releases is widely cited as the main reason for the slump in sales experienced in 2005.
February was a banner month for domestic acts with a whopping 33% stake of the market – a ten per cent increase from last year. So far, the 2005 domestic percentage is app. 25%. Sales figures from the Association of Norwegian Record Distributors show that sales of domestic productions rose 18% in volume and 16% in value.
However, the overall sales figures are less than pleasing. February sales continues in the same negative trend experienced in January with a reduction of sales amounting to 19% in volume and 17% in value compared to Feb. 2004.
Sales of CD albums are down 17% in volume and 16% in value compared to 2004.
Sales of singles are down as much as 50% in volume and 48% in value compared to 2004.
DVD music sales are reduced with 40% in volume and 38% in value.
Total accumulated sales in 2005 are so far 1,4 million albums, 62 000 singles and 37 000 music DVDs amounting to a total revenue of NOK 97m. This is a reduction of 23% in volume and 20% in value compared to 2004’s first two months.
Lack of new and commercially powerful releases is widely cited as the main reason for the slump in sales experienced this year. While the Norwegian record market has been spared for the worst of the downturns experienced in other territories, the sales tendencies in the year’s first two months is worrying the Norwegian record industry. While January is traditionally a weak month with few major releases launched and consequently low sales, February is usually a month that sees improving sales and several major acts on the market. February 2005 proved to be a quiet month with few international major acts releasing records that could improve on the overall sales figures.
The merger of Sony and BMG has naturally affected the new company’s release schedule and turnover in 2005. While Sony Music created a turnover in 2004’s first two months amounting to NOK 19,2m, the merged major earned a NOK 16,1m profit in January and February this year. Says Sony BMG sales manager Rune Kristoffersen to trade publication Farojournalen: “The merger of the two companies took effect from the turn of the year. Still, many European countries have not achieved a complete merger and this affects the release schedule which is relatively skinny at the moment. However, I see no crisis on the horizon for us and we’re pretty much back on track from March. The overall recession is a general trend in the market right now. I’ve never experienced so many complaints of lack of new releases from the retailers as I have this February.”
Market shares February 2005:
EMI Recorded Music 16,7%
Sony BMG 15,4%
Bonnier Amigo 5,2%
Master Music /Naxos 3,8%
Bare Bra / Tylden 3,6%