After years of declining sales, the figures for Norwegian releases are showing slight improvement. The first half of 2002 showed a continuation of the negative trend, while the autumn so far bore promise of an improving market. Much thanks to bands like Gåte, Jaga Jazzist, Satyricon and Ugress, Norwegian music seems set to improve on the slump in sales.
With often less than a 15% take of the market, Norwegian music faces a difficult situation. The country’s population is small, just some 4,5 million, and the record buying public is not nationalistic when it comes to buying CDs. There are notable exceptions - Kaizers Orchestra and Röyksopp spring to mind - but all in all, it’s a market where the international percentage far outweighs the Norwegian.
August and September this year have done much to bring a more positive outlook to the Norwegian record industry. According to figures from the Association of Norwegian Record Distributors, Norwegian releases accounted for 18% of August’s sales. On a total, August represented an actual 10% decline in overall sales.
The improvement on the national percentage is much attributed to bands Gåte, Motorpsycho, Jaga Jazzist, Ugress and Satyricon all of which reached top-five on the national album charts. The fact that two of these bands are debutantes is another pleasing factor, indicating a shift in the market towards Norwegian artists.
A sales phenomenon that’s distinctly Norwegian, is the emphasis on EPs. This year’s newcomers Gåte along with previous years big-sellers Big-Bang and Madrugada, are some of the bands that have focused on priming the market with EPs While sales of singles is following the international declining trend, EPs featuring Norwegian artists have been subjected to increased attention and sales.
With last year’s national percentage settling at 17%, the first half of 2002 has seen sales figures hovering around 15%. With previous year’s multi-platinum selling rockers Madrugada ready with a new October album, this autumn’s positive trend could continue into the traditionally lucrative December.