International performing rights revenue soars

Tono - the Norwegian Performing Rights Society - recently published their annual top ten list of Norwegian performing rights collected abroad. Revenue generated by tv-, live- and radio-play has nearly doubled over the last five years.

Lene Marlin 2003 (Photo: Anton Corbijn/Virgin)

Songstress Lene Marlin tops the list of Norwegian authors’ with international success. TONO – the Norwegian Performing Rights Society- have now published their annual report (available at, and in addition to an overview of the organisation’s domestic operations it also includes a list of the authors that receive most income from synchronisation rights abroad. The TONO report also confirms that the impact of Norwegian music has increased substantially over the last years; synchronisation rights have nearly doubled over the last five years.

This is TONO’s list of those Norwegian authors that generate the highest revenue abroad:

1. Lene Marlin
2. Jan Garbarek
3. Espen Lind
4. Amund Bjørklund
5. Rolf Løvland
6. Bugge Wesseltoft
7. Trond Bjerknæs
8. Bjørn Eidsvåg
9. Johanna Klevmark
10. Terje Rypdal

Lene Marlin established herself on the domestic stage in 1998 with her break-through album ‘Playing My Game’ which has subsequently sold more than one million units. Her 2003 follow-up didn’t fare quite as well, but it still secured her a top spot among Norwegian performers on TONO’s list. Jazz icon Jan Garbarek is a veteran in this setting, having been a central performer on the international stage for more than three decades. The second spot on TONO’s list comes as an additional bonus to a very positive week for the saxophone player: on 9 December Garbarek receives the Norwegian Arts Council’s honorary prize and earlier this week he received his Grammy nomination for his acclaimed latest album ‘In Praise of Dreams’. Songwriter and producer Espen Lind enjoyed considerable international success as a solo act in the mid- to late 90s, but has spent the latter years focusing on his very successful career as a producer. Together with partner Amund Bjørklund (no. 4 on the TONO list) Lind has written and produced tracks for such acts as Atomic Kitten, V and Kym Marsh as well as scoring a nation-wide major hit with Norwegian ‘Idol’-winner Kjartan and his ‘Standing Tall’ anthem. Espen Lind is set to return to the spotlight as a solo act with a new single (titled ‘Unloved’) on its way to domestic radio stations – a new album is scheduled for release next spring.

According to TONOs annual report, performing rights revenue generated abroad rose from NOK 8,6 million in 1999 to 16,8m last year. The revenue distributed by TONO comes from its 70 sister organisations abroad that collect fees for live-, tv- and radio-play. Says TONO’s Jens H. Magnus to Norwegian daily Dagbladet: “We don’t publish the exact amounts that we distribute to our members, but it’s beyond any doubt that Norwegian music is doing very well internationally - we have doubled the revenue generated abroad over the last five years. We’re now seeing a new generation of authors who are doing well and have established themselves firmly abroad. These are mainly authors who are also successful on the domestic market.”

According to the TONO report, Norwegian repertoire has its biggest audience in the UK, Germany, France and Sweden.

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