The Swedish MusicTech Landscape

Joseph Michael
Mar 13, 2018 · 5 min read
MusicTech Homescreen Stockholm

MusicTech is defined as technologies that allows users to consume or create music.

Stockholm is a major MusicTech hub and the birthplace of many leading music technology companies. In fact, Stockholm is ranked among the top MusicTech cities in the world by Cluster Observatory.

A weirdly large number of the music and audio related companies that you have heard of came from Stockholm. — The Observer

Flagship Companies

Spotify

Spotify is the leading MusicTech company and is putting Stockholm on the map when it comes to tech and startups in general. With over 70 million paying subscribers Spotify has essentially changed the entire music industry and shifted consumer behavior. Spotify filed to go public on the New York Stock exchange and is estimated to be valued at $19 billion when listed.

Soundcloud

Soundcloud was founded by Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss in Stockholm in 2007. The company is now headquartered in Berlin and has more than 40 million registered users. In total, more than 175 million users use the service every month.

Tidal / WiMP

The music streaming service WiMP was created by Norwegian/Swedish company Aspiro in 2014 and is known as Tidal in most countries. The company focused on delivering high-quality audio to set them apart from other music streaming services. The parent company Aspiro was later acquired by Project Panther Bidco Ltd. which is owned by JAY-Z.

Apple Music (Beats Music)

For a short period of time Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine had a music streaming service in the app store called Beats Music. It was part of the popular headphone brand Beats by Dr. Dre and launched in the U.S. in January 2014. Just a few months later the entire company was acquired by Apple for $3 billion and the Beats Music was pulled off the app store. Shortly after, it became public that Apple and Beats were developing a new music streaming service based on Beats Music, what we now know as Apple Music.

An interesting part of the story is that Beats Music was developed by a team in Sweden, led by Ola Sars who is now CEO of Soundtrack Your Brand (Spotify Business). Ola and his team had developed several music streaming services and teamed up with Dr. Dre to essentially create what is today Apple’s own music streaming service. Even Apple Music has roots in Sweden.

Report

Invest Stockholm released a MusicTech report during Eurovision 2016. The report features 25 leading MusicTech companies as well as a great background on the music industry in general in Sweden. The report explains why Stockholm has become a natural place for MusicTech, combining a leading community of artists and producers with an active tech industry. The intersection where musicians and engineers meet becomes a natural birthplace for innovations in music. Read the full report here.

Community

A lot has happened in recent years when it comes to the community around MusicTech. Within a year, a new MusicTech incubator, coworkingspace and meetup has launched in Stockholm.

Amplify — Incubator

Amplify is Sweden’s first MusicTech-oriented startup incubator. They are taking musical creativity and technology and mixing it with entrepreneurial excellence. The incubator is located at the Royal College of Music (KMH) Campus in Stockholm.

STHLM Music City — Meetup & Community

STHLM Music City is a movement bringing together Sweden’s music and tech industries. It is a new platform for networking and collaboration in the form of meetups and related activities for the music tech community. STHLM Music City is also the initiator of STHLM Music House.

STHLM Music House — Coworkingspace

STHLM Music House is a members club founded to be the natural place to meet, network and collaborate around music and tech. Located in Djurgården in Stockholm, right next to the Abba Museum, STHLM Music House offers its members flexible workspaces, access to studio and much more.

Startups & Tech Companies

There are many, many MusicTech companies in Sweden. Below are over 40 companies that either are based in, or originated from, Sweden.
Did we miss anyone? Please recommend companies to add in the comments.

  • Actiwave (Opalium): Technologies that improve sound quality in speakers.
  • Allihoopa: Unites everyone doing music together.
  • Amuse: The world’s first mobile record company.
  • Auddly: A music management tool that gathers all information about a musical piece in one place.
  • Auxy: A studio in everyone’s pocket.
  • Blicko: Interactive music service for venues.
  • Dirac: Digital sound optimization solutions.
  • Earin: Wireless earphones with the power to control the sounds around you.
  • Epidemic sound: Helps individuals and companies soundtrack their stories with quality music.
  • Freedrum: Take Your Drums Anywhere. A unique drumming experience.
  • Gigital: Find and book artists in one platform.
  • Happy Plugs: A leading Swedish fashion and lifestyle brand.
  • Hearezanz: Personalized audio based on the unique hearing of each individual
  • InstrumentChamp: A game and social network for music players.
  • International Copyright Enterprise (ICE): A service center for the global management of music rights.
  • Kobalt: The world’s largest independent music publishing company. (Not based in Sweden)
  • LocalSound: Discover and book live artists for your event.
  • Mind Music Labs: Maker of the worlds first smart guitar and the Music Operating System ELK.
  • Moodelizer: Create customized soundtracks to your videos instantly.
  • Musifier: A software system for adaptive music generation, based on music morphing.
  • Nord Keyboards (Clavia): Keyboards handmade in Sweden.
  • Orb Industries: The Orb format plans on creating a more intimate music experience.
  • Pacemaker: Create music mixes & DJ with Spotify.
  • Propellerhead: Tools for creative music production, recording, mixing and remixing.
  • Pugz: The world’s smallest wireless earphones that you can charge through your smartphone.
  • Scorecloud: Music notation software for everyone.
  • Softube: Tools for the Audio Professional.
  • Soundcloud: A leading music and podcast streaming platform. (Not based in Sweden)
  • Soundtrack Your Brand: Background music for business with Spotify Business.
  • Soundtrap: Make music online together by recording and using loops.
  • Spotify: The leading music streaming service.
  • Strumlive: Watch amazing artists, live from all over the world.
  • Sudio: Premium Earphones.
  • TactSenze: Allows people with sight deficiency to play in a live orchestra.
  • Teenage engineering: High quality, well designed, products for all people who love sound & music.
  • Tidal (WiMP/Aspiro): Music streaming service that was acquired by Jay Z.
  • Urbanears: Headphones, earbuds and more.
  • Urbanista: Wireless bluetooth earphones, headphones, speakers and accessories.
  • X5 Music: License digital music rights in order to enhance their value and revenue.
  • XLN audio: Music software company famous for Addictive Drums.
  • Zound industries: Making electronics fashionable.
  • Zoundio: Anyone can play Guitar. Amazing technology. No bad notes. Just you sounding good.

For more articles about tech & startups in Sweden go to my Medium page or follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Joseph Michael

Written by

Startup Growth Lead at Stripe — focusing on the Nordics. I meet a lot of great companies and write about them here.

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