New US portal for Norwegian music

Under the title "Music from Norway", Brand Management Group is to export Norwegian music to the North-American audience via a new web-portal.

The Arts Council Norway recently announced an allotment of NOK 200 000 to Brand Management Group as support for development of a new web-portal for sales of Norwegian music abroad. Through the portal, the new project “Music From Norway” will initially focus on making Norwegian music and culture commercially available for 4,9 million Americans of Norwegian descent. This new initiative is a joint project that also involves Phonofile, MIC and The Norse Federation.

“Our goal is to make the diverse repertoire represented by Norwegian music commercially available for an international market through channels that source revenue back to the domestic music scene” says Brand Management Group’s Fred Stave to “Gradually, we will also seek to offer our services through the portals operated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

The new project, which has been given “Music from Norway” as a working title, is a joint venture initiated by Brand Management and Norgate AS. Brand Management Group is an independent Norwegian consulting enterprise that is actively involved in various development projects within the Norwegian cultural field. Norgate is a web-portal based corporation owned by The Norse Federation whose intention is to strengthen the ties between Norway and a target group that is identified as being “Norwegian by heart and heritage.”

The Music Information Centre Norway will supply the information basis and editorial content to the new portal. The existing event calendar, music industry directory and catalogue will also be featured on the site.

Phonofile, which operates the highly successful download services, will run the music web-shop and clear rights issues with TONO/NC and more than 90 independent Norwegian record labels.

The portal will be administered by Norgate, which is also to initiate partnerships with contacts in the US that in turn will result in direct access to new potential portal users.

Says Brand Management Group’s Fred Stave: “Music from Norway is merely a working title – the portal will have a name and identity of its own and is to be marketed as a brand. The portal content will be tailored for the market in each target territory with close linkage to the various Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ sites.”

Phonofile and its existing download services is a vital component of the “Music from Norway” portal project. As a consequence of the establishment of the download services, Phonofile has cleared all copyrights issues with each individual record label, giving the company a right to distribute and sell music files on the web. Phonofile has also an agreement with the Norwegian Performing Rights Society and Nordic Copyright Bureau ensuring that Norwegian rights owners’ interests are secured. The web-shop that will be implemented at the portal will have a basis in the existing Phonofile structure, thus ensuring revenue for Norwegian rights owners when the US audience starts to download tracks from the site.

The Brand Management Group has a strong belief in the potential for web-based sales of Norwegian music on the US marketplace. Initially, the project will focus on the Northern-American market, and in particular the population groups of Norwegian descent. The project launch will be linked to the 2005 centennial anniversary marking the dissolution of Norway’s union with Sweden – an event that is expected to generate substantial US interest in Norway and its history and culture.

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