Live music, recordings boosted Finnish music exports last year

In 2019 the total value of the Finnish music industry, including exports, continued to grow as in previous years, according to new figures from Music Finland. Its value is however expected to drop dramatically in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Finland’s music industry and exports grew significantly in 2019 compared to the previous year, according to the annual Music Finland financial survey. Besides growing sales of recordings, another strong sector was live music, which generated about half of the industry’s value and was clearly the largest core area within music exports.

The total value of the Finnish music industry was 988 million euros in 2019. That represented growth of about five percent from the previous year. The largest sector, live music, grew by seven percent from the previous year to a value of 512 million euros. Retail sales of recordings in Finland rose by around nine percent during 2019 to an estimated 89 million euros.

Live music drives exports

The market value of Finnish music exports in 2019 was 81.7 million euros, an increase of four percent from the year before. Once again, live music was the largest of the music industry’s core areas (14.5 million euros) while exports of recordings also gained strength (7.1 million euros). Copyright royalties and other export revenues (such as composition and production fees, sheet music sales, advertising contracts and sales of other merchandise) meanwhile declined to close to their previous level.

For several years running, the biggest success in music exports has been in music-related apps, services and technology, including export revenues from professional audio equipment and start-ups producing digital services. In 2019 the value of exports from this ‘other goods and services’ category totalled 52.1 million euros.  

“Music exports grew in line with expectations and the uptrend in live music was particularly gratifying. The levelling off in revenues from start-up and tech firms was to be expected after several years of heady growth,” says Kaisa Rönkkö, Executive Director of Music Finland. 

Coronavirus may slash music industry value by one third in 2020

In 2020 the music industry’s finances and abilities to generate income have been dramatically affected by the coronavirus situation. It brought planning for live music events to a halt in March and has weakened the financial standing of the music industry and music consumers in many different ways. Many actors in the industry are partly or entirely dependent on live music revenues, so the repercussions have been felt widely.

In spring 2020, Music Finland created a real-time snapshot showing the latest financial estimates from the industry at any given time. As of August 2020, it is estimated that the pandemic will cause more than 220 million euros loss of revenues for the industry, mostly from the live music sector. Altogether the loss of revenues will result in a decline of about one third of the Finnish industry’s value in 2020.

“It’s clear that next year’s export figures will plunge,” says Rönkkö. “Certain sectors are already export-driven as it is, though of course the competition is also tougher than ever. We’re trying to analyse both potential target markets and export sectors for well into the post-pandemic era. The basic aim of our operations is to ensure that exports don’t come to a halt – and we’re working toward that end, both domestically and internationally.”

Data for the 2019 financial survey of the Finnish music industry and exports was gathered by Music Finland research manager Merja Hottinen and researcher Tuomas Ilmavirta. The report was compiled by Hottinen. According to established music business practices, exports were divided into the following categories: live music, recordings, copyrights, other export revenues as well as other goods and services. Read the 2019 financial survey of the music industry here (Finnish only).