Swedish Music Fans Start to Steer Clear of Pirates (pdf)

Sweden, long considered one of the world’s most welcoming havens for digital piracy, is now showing signs of turning back toward legal, licensed music, both online and in stores. Music sales in Sweden rose 10.2 percent last year, according to the recording companies’ international trade group, even as they fell by nearly 10 percent worldwide, continuing a nearly decade-long downward spiral.

Industry executives credit a combination of incentives for music fans to switch, including tougher action to crack down on illegal file-sharing and the spread of new services like Spotify, which has its roots in Sweden.

In addition to the guilty verdict against the Pirate Bay’s founders, Sweden served up a new law last year making it easier for copyright owners to take file-sharers to court. Meanwhile, Spotify, which sells advertising and premium subscriptions to users who prefer to skip the ads, was being used by 17 percent of the Swedish population by the end of 2009, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

That helped the industry nearly double its revenue from digital music in Sweden. Revenue from streaming services like Spotify more than quadrupled, while sales of downloads from services like iTunes rose 28 percent. Even CDs eked out a 1.9 percent sales increase.

You have to read to the end to find that no one’s really *that* sanguine….