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Swedish Musicians Raking in Millions

File sharing or no they're never the losers.


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STOCKHOLM (SvD) -- The file sharing debate continues. And all the while Swedish artists and composers are raking in the cash like never before. STIM's revenues are now greater than record sales themselves.

Record sales may be in free fall but revenues in the music industry continue to spiral upward. Each time a song is played on the radio, on television, in boutiques, restaurants, hair salons, waiting rooms, gyms, and at concerts the copyright organisations STIM and SAMI get royalties for their members.

STIM collect money for composers and lyricists; SAMI collect for the singers, the musicians, and the producers who've made the recordings.

Last year STIM cashed in SEK 904 million, an increase of over 3% and a new all time high. SAMI increased their revenues by 14% to SEK 160 million, another all time high.

One explanation for the surge is that both organisations have become more effective in finding businesses that play music in public. According to STIM senior adviser Margita Ljusberg there is more music being played in public all the time.

'A large part of our revenues come from the mainstream media. Ten years ago there weren't anywhere as many radio and television stations. Music is being spread more and more all the time.'

Even boutiques and businesses work more and more with music, says SAMI CEO Stefan Lagrell.

'A lot of them play music because they now know it increases sales. It's a good sign that they realise music helps their businesses.'

Both STIM and SAMI count on reaching even further agreements in the future.

Record sales continue to drop but according to STIM's Susanne Bodin it's not file sharing that's prompted her organisation to find additional revenue streams.

'Our mandate is to continually follow music trends. We were doing this anyway. It's our challenge to keep pace with technology and continually find new revenue streams - for we support technological progress.'

Record sales for 2008 were SEK 780 million - which means STIM make more money than the record business itself.

But here's the difference: with record sales only a small portion accrues to the people who actually create the music - almost all of it goes to the record companies. But almost all the money STIM and SAMI collect goes right into their members' pockets.

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