However, information released in February show digital gains helped the Danish market rebounding after years of decline. Last year, recorded music revenues in Denmark rose 4.7 percent to 429 million Kroner ($76 million) from 408 million Kroner ($72 million). Digital revenues jumped nearly 26 percent to 278 million Kroner ($37 million) from 221 million Kroner ($30 million) and had risen 126 percent over the previous 5 years.
Other streaming-heavy countries in Scandanavia have had similar gains in the first half of the year. In Sweden, the home of Spotify and the country with the quickest embrace of music subscription services, streaming revenues grew 12 percent and accounted for 81 percent of all recorded music revenue. In Norway, streaming revenues increased about 16 percent and accounted for 77 percent of recorded music revenues.
Streaming gains don't always come with improvements in total revenue. In Sweden, a 44-percent decline in CD sales and a meager 2-percent gain in download sales helped drive overall revenues down 2.5% in the first half of the year.
And although Denmark is considered a positive example of a market embracing streaming technology, the comparison doesn't easily extend to markets outside of Scandinavia. A major factor in Denmarks' music market is the fact that Danish consumers never embraced digital downloads -- think iTunes -- like consumers did in many Western markets. In the United Kingdom, for example, subscription revenue still lags far behind download revenue in spite of subscription services' long tenure in the country. Last year, downloads' share of revenue topped subscriptions 38.8 percent to 7.5 percent -- over a five-fold difference -- according to the BPI.
Nevertheless, Denmark can be held up as an example of a market that can not only survive but grow in the near-absence of traditional music purchases. And it's an especially important example now that download sales have started to fall in the United States. Yes, there is life after purchases.