Views from the boundaries

Music streaming revisited


  • Daniel Nordgård Universitetet i Agder



Music business, Music streaming, digital disruption, music industries, algorithms, playlists


This article explores how Norwegian record label managers understand their current positions and future possibilities in a market that is increasingly driven by on-demand subscription-based streaming. It adds to a growing body of research by adopting a qualitative approach, seeking to describe issues at a personal or company level, and provide nuance and dynamics in a discourse that is often described in dichotomies and on aggregate levels. The article argues that stakeholders have more varied attitudes than simply being for or against the innovation, the new economic models and their eff ects on their own business, and the market in general. It also demonstrates that perceptions change as markets develop, and stakeholders and their businesses adjust. The article uses four in-depth interviews to assess a 2013 government-initiated project, and provides insights into differing positions and changes over time.


Anderson, C. (2006). Th e Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. New York: Hyperion.

Bonini, T., & Gandini, A. (2019). “First week is editorial, second week is algorithmic”: Platform gatekeepers and the platformization of music curation. Social Media+Society, 5(4). doi: 10.1177/2056305119880006

Bottomley, A. J. (2015). ‘Home taping is killing music’: Th e recording industries’ 1980s anti-home taping campaigns and struggles over production, labor and creativity, Creative Industries Journal, 8(2), 123-145. doi: 10.1080/17510694.2015.1090223

Eidsvold-Tøien, I., et al. (2019). Hva nå? Digitaliseringens innvirkning på norsk musikkbransje. Rapport nr 1. 2019, BI Centre for Creative Industries.

Eriksson, M., Fleischer, R., Johansson, A., Snickars, P. & Vonderau, P. (2019). Spotify Teardown: Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. doi: 10.7551/mitpress/10932.001.0001

Hagen, A. N. (2015). Th e playlist experience: Personal playlists in music streaming services, Popular Music and Society, 38(5), 625-645, doi: 10.1080/03007766.2015.1021174

Hesmondhalgh, D. (2013). Th e Cultural Industries 3rd ed. Th ousand Oaks: Sage.

Hesmondhalgh, D. (2020). Is music streaming bad for musicians? Problems of evidence and argument. New Media and Society. September 2020. doi: 10.1177/1461444820953541

Kiberg, H. (2020). Personaliserte anbefalinger og musikalsk mangfold–en umulig kombinasjon? Norsk medietidsskrift, 27(3), 1-18. doi: 10.1177/2056305119880006

Kjus, Y. (2016). Musical exploration via streaming services: Th e Norwegian experience. Popular Communication, 14(3), 127-136. doi: 10.1080/15405702.2016.1193183

Kvale, S. (1996). Interviews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. Th ousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Krueger, A. B. (2019a, 1 June). Th e Economics of Rihanna’s Superstardom. Opinion, Th e New York Times:

Krueger, A. B. (2019b). Rockonomics: A Backstage Tour of What the Music Industry can Teach Us About Economics and Life. New York: Currency.

Maasø, A. (2014). User-centric settlement for music streaming. Presented at South by Southwest. Retrieved from:

Marshall, L. (2015). ‘Let’s keep music special. F—Spotify’: On-demand streaming and the controversy over artist royalties, Creative Industries Journal, 8(2), 177-189. doi: 10.1080/17510694.2015.1096618

Morgan, B. A. (2020). Revenue, access, and engagement via the in-house curated Spotify playlist in Australia. Popular Communication, 18(1), 32-47. doi: 10.1080/15405702.2019.1649678

Miles, M. B. & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis. 2nd ed. Th ousand Oaks: Sage.

Muikku, J. (2017). Pro rata and the user centric distribution models: A comparative study, DIGITAL MEDIA, 2, 14.

Nordgård, D. (2013). Rapport fra Nordgård-utvalget. Oslo: Th e Norwegian Ministry of Culture.

Nordgård, D. (2016). Lessons From the Worlds Most Advanced Market for Music Streaming Services, in Business Innovation and Disruptions in the Music Industries. In P. Wikström & R. DeFilippi (Eds.), Business innovation and disruption in the music industry (pp. 175-190). Massachusetts: Edward Elgar Publishing. doi: 10.4337/9781783478156.00017

Pedersen, R. R. (2014). Music Streaming in Denmark: An Analysis of Listening Patterns and the Consequences of a User settlement model based on streaming data from WiMP. Roskilde: Roskilde Universitet.




How to Cite

Nordgård, D. (2021). Views from the boundaries: Music streaming revisited. MedieKultur: Journal of Media and Communication Research, 37(70), 032–049.