Sweden/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture

Internet use in Sweden is among the highest in the world. In 2014, 92 % of Swedes had access to the Internet. Of Internet users, 57 % used it to listen to music, 72 % used social media such as Facebook, and 40 % read blogs. After increasing for many years, participation in file sharing has now started to decrease. Instead, an increasing number of internet users take part of music and film through payed-for alternatives. 38 % of internet users now use such services for music and 14 % for film. These figures illustrate the drastic changes, opportunities and challenges posed by new modes of communication to cultural policy, as well as too other policy areas. At the same time, 16 % of Swedish internet users worried about other private persons and criminals would infringe on their personal integrity, 19 % worried that governments would do so and 27 % worried that large companies, including those providing search engines and social networks, would do so. Such concerns have been high at several times, including during the debates concerning the EU International Property Right Enforcement Directive (IPRED) around 2009, and now they are increasing once more.

The major government priority on the information society has been education at all levels. Special funding for equipment and projects has been made available for schools in general and for educational programmes in museums and other cultural institutions. IT has become a tool in the daily work of all institutions, whether it is websites, digitisation of catalogues and online loans from libraries, documentation and registration of museum collections, use of digital equipment for stage and other music and drama performances, box-office sales, etc. IT has also become the natural medium for communication, networking, and creative expressions among artists in cross-cultural projects.

Specific projects deal with the digitalisation of the cultural heritage. The National Heritage Board is the main responsible government agency in this area, although a large number of public bodies are engaged in such work. Projects are also conducted by The Royal Library concerning the preservation of works published on the Internet. This work has however been criticised as being too slow and with having only limited funding. In the national budget 2016, funding for some aspects of digitalization and availability got increased funding, e.g. grants for making film heritage more accessible.

Chapter published: 16-05-2017