Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

The Swedish Model – Nov. 1

Posted by cliffordpaulparsoniiiesq on November 27, 2016

Sweden always seems to come up when we discuss business models in the music industry. The article talks a great deal about Sweden’s rich pop music heritage. (There’s a lot more than just ABBA, by the way, but they’re a good starting point!)

However, most central to Sweden’s music industry is its reliance on new, bohemian business models. I had never heard of the Swedish indie labels who release their material legally on the Pirate Bay. But it doesn’t surprise me one bit.

Sweden sees the potential in peer-to-peer file sharing while other cultures see it as a stigma. P2P is such a big deal in Swedish culture that a few years ago, a group of file sharers formed their own religion (Kopimism), which believes that sharing digital files is a fundamental, God-given right.

This article will probably stir a discussion as to why this unique business practice doesn’t exist in the U.S. On that point, I’d like to point out that it’s not like we haven’t tried. Remember Napster? Okay, admittedly I don’t, but I’ve seen the documentaries. There were actually a number of artists who used Napster to legally promote their music. One of Napster’s most famous success stories is that of Dispatch, a band that argues owes their career to Fanning, Parker and company.

Napster, obviously, was too unstable from a legal standpoint. But still, it could have been an excellent tool for the industry, had its creators been able to work out a business model with the labels.

Sweden obviously faces some of the same issues with The Pirate Bay. What’s amazing, though, is how the Pirate Bay has been around much longer than Napster ever was. Also, it has endured under a government that I imagine is a lot more strict than America’s when it comes to this sort of thing.

What is Sweden doing that we aren’t? I was wrong to think they were only good at mass-producing mom-friendly furniture. Please Sweden, teach us lowly Americans the ways of the Force!


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