Finnish music exports set to rise
Finnish musicians look set to gain more international recognition thanks to a two-year initiative, which launched this month. The Aus Finnland music project will target German, Austrian and Swiss music fans, industry professionals and press.
The project, which spans all music genres, aims to boost opportunities for artists from Finland and create a sustainable base for the future of music exports.
It seeks to increase the number of new openings, projects and contracts as well as the number of shows and performances of Finnish music in these markets.
The Aus Finnland website will list every single show by Finnish artists in the region and provide editorial content about Finnish music in German.
“It is not just a one-way export project but the start of a long-term relationship,” says Sami Häikiö, head of international music export at Music Finland, which promotes awareness and the success of Finnish music at home and abroad.
The association represents different sectors of the industry, including copyright societies, record companies, publishers, music makers and performers.
It offers a wide variety of services such as marketing and funding programmes, events, networking opportunities, training, consultancy, support, research and information.
“We do a lot of matchmaking,” says Häikiö. “For example, we might bring international music business people to Finland to certain events where we showcase Finnish artists.”
Music Finland reckons the current market value of Finnish music exports is about 36–37 million euros.The figure includes sales, concerts and international license agreements.
The highest turnover is in Europe and the Nordic countries followed by the United States and Japan.
Abroad, Finland is recognised for renowned conductors and composers like Esa-Pekka Salonen. In addition the country has become widely known for its heavy metal and hard rock music following the victory of Lordi at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006.
However, Häikiö is quick to point out that there’s potential in all genres from pop to indie, electronic to urban, classical to jazz.
“People seem to think Finland is only about heavy metal or classical music, but these days all different styles of music are very much alive,” he says.
Targeting Germany, Austria, Switzerland builds on past success. Last October, for example, Finnish pop-rock band Sunrise Avenue’s album Fairytales–Best of hit number one on the German and Swiss album charts on its release week.
Finland will be the first focus country of next year’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg in September, Germany’s largest club festival and one of the top meeting places for the music and digital industries in Europe.
“There’s no shortage of local talent but success in Finland doesn’t necessarily give you time and money to concentrate on other markets,” says Häikiö. “I hope some of these many artists, who are bubbling along under the surface will have some kind of a breakthrough. I hope that one of them will really make it big because there are so many good examples already.”
Text: Vincent Landon