Aurora is among the artists who play most concerts. But it's not just because she thinks it's fabulous.
She takes out a recorder and sings carefully.
- “I try not to disturb those sitting next to me in the airplane," says Aurora Aksnes.
She is touring a lot. Therefore she takes the opportunity to sing a new melody she has in her head on the plane. She must not forget it. If she has already recorded a tune at home, she often writes the text while travelling.
- "You learn good writing techniques when you do not have a completely quiet room with a piano at your disposal. You have to write the text when you are on the plane, stand in line, or at a soundcheck,” she says.
- I have to go on tour
“I have a quiet voice," she says as I turn on the camera to interview her a few hours before her concert starts. In the artist wardrobe her sister, who is her regular stylist applies the makeup.
It is her second festival in Norway this year, but she has already been in Australia.
- “I have to tour. it’s what makes living out of music possible," says Aurora Aksnes.
She has been touring all over the world. It has become more and more over the last three years. She has been to more than 150 different concert venues just over these years. Since last year she has performed at 50 concerts or festivals. A total of 210 single concerts with large and small performances throughout 2016.
She loves it, but would rather focus more on fewer performances. The reason is that she will give everything to the audience. Every night should mean something to her, that the concert is not just one of many.
- “It's better in every way not to have too many performances. This way I get focused on the fact that every performance is very special," she says.
The 21-year-old is looking forward to playing, but wishing that the audience who came tonight had avoided getting so wet and cold.
"It's nice to see so much yellow" exclaims Aurora from the scene, in the light of the rain pouring over the sea of audience in rainwear.
It is summer night at the Bergenfest music festival.
The concert is one of the many that awaits her this summer. Not least, she has already put behind her a concert marathon.
Last year was the most hectic. There will be fewer concerts this year. After all, she needs time to complete the second album and to write new music.
After digitization changed the way we listen to music, via streaming, the “Culture Council's report in Music” shows revenue from music sales has almost disappeared.
Unless you are among the top 10-ish worldwide. The trend is increasing.
In order to be able to live by their music, artists thus play on an increasing number of concerts. That's where they make money.
But even with more concerts, it does not compensate for the loss of revenue artists have had in the past, according to industry figures for the past few decades.
Little time to write new music
It’s pouring down. The fog hangs so far down the mountains behind the stage at Bergenhus fortress in the center of the city, that they mix with the smoke effects of the show.
The rain this summer's night does not make any noticeable damper to the young artist's enthusiasm for finally playing at home. Admittedly, the nerves were more present before this concert in front of family and friends among the audience, than to perform at major concerts on a foreign tour.
In the middle of all the traveling the concert jobs entail, she will be able to create something new. Thus writing new songs is something that has to happen between concerts while traveling. It's not ideal, she thinks.
- “The most important thing is to make the music. So it's absolutely terrible when I do not get time for it”.
She and the band have decided to add more free time when they are touring.
- “I don’t think we're going to repeat 2016 again, it was a busy year”.
The revenue that disappeared
The concert in Bergen starts. Pictures of dawn in the forest shine on the scene behind her. She is dressed in the favorite color green and has a short sheep fur over her shoulders.
She sings for full breath “I’m running with the wolves tonight". The tones fills the concert arena as she swings her arms over her head so the sheep's fur flap’s about her light braided hair.
She is not alone when it comes to do many performances.
Also artists like Åge Aleksandersen, and the band Spidergawd, have a tight tour schedule of the summer's many music festivals across the country.
Spidergawd recently toured in Japan. Day after day in new places. They were lucky and got financial support to tour. Having so many concerts is not quite voluntary, even if they love to perform. They earn zero on streaming.
- “We earn so little on streaming that we do not know how much it is. In other words, it is not a noticeable income,” says manager Vibeke Hay Wold.
The goal of the band is to maximize the financial support. They are hoping to build a network in Europe that is solid enough to yield returns later.
On stage as a 60 years old
Veteran Åge Aleksandersen is touring non stop this summer.
Aurora would not be without what she thinks is so nice, when the audience stands together to hear and experience music live.
- “I like myself more live than I do on a record. It provides a completely different energy and emotional register. It’s a community feeling in it and a very beautiful thing”.
She can absolutely picture herself on stage when she's 60. But preferably on a completely different stage than the festival scenes.
- “I hope that I perform in concert hall’s with a symphony orchestra where people can sit and enjoy themselves”.
Later in the evening Aurora has finished the concert at Bergenfest.
"Thank you very much, it has been so nice," she shouts jubilantly and bow for the raincoat ocean. Next stop is the capital, to play at the festival over Oslo. And at the Slottsfjell festival she is the main attraction.
- “I do not always have that much energy, and try as good as I can to tell myself that "you can do this, Aurora," before new performances. I want the audience who has come to feel that I'm hundred percent for them," Aurora says.
Must be in top shape
Inside the wardrobe, Aurora becomes thoughtful when she thinks about the veteran Åge Aleksandersen in his 60’s, this summer plays as many concerts as he does.
- “That's why there are only a few who become musicians or artists because they're the ones who can stand on a stage every day - for 50 years - like Bob Dylan."
- “Maybe that's why we just have that job. Perhaps I can do that if I really go for it. It is very strange to think about that”.
There are many who depend that she is in top form. If she gets sick, it affects many. If she has to cancel a concert, she becomes very sad.
- “In the course of a year there are of course many days where you really do not want to stand on a stage. Maybe I'm sick. Maybe I've lost my voice”.
She has always had concerts anyway, and has just canceled if the voice is completely gone - which can be harmful. Or if she has gone to hospital.
On a bad day, she takes a pep talk with herself.
- “I’m trying to tell myself that I'm «yes», this is the situation just today, people have come to hear just you. Perhaps it is in Australia somewhere, so it means you will not be back again any time soon”.
Our technological advantage slips
Admittedly, it's not on streaming artists and musicians earn the most money, but streaming services can draw attention to the artists before important concert performances.
The major streaming services are now on American and Swedish hands. Scandinavia, and especially Norwegians, are the world's top when it comes to listening to music through paid streaming services.
Neither in the US or United Kingdom is it just as common yet, figures from industry IFPI show. Several music experts therefore think it's a shame that Norwegian Tidal was sold to the United States.
Popular Culture and Technology Researcher Yngvar Kjus at the University of Oslo, has long researched pop music. He believes that the Norwegian music industry risks losing money.
- “It's difficult to estimate revenues from future streaming, but perhaps the Norwegian music industry will miss a lot”.
- “It is nevertheless a pity that there is no longer any Norwegian owned streaming service, but I hope there will be some new, good initiatives," says Yngvar Kjus.
Jørn Dalchow in the independent Norwegian label daWorks believes that Norway has had an advantage in international terms since we have lived with the streaming economy for some years already.
- “There has been a restructuring that we have come a long way with in Scandinavia and we now have a window where we have a small head start. But the big ones will probably soon catch up," says Jørn Dalchow.
Audun Molde is the head lecturer and responsible for popular music at the Westerdals Oslo ACT College.
He believes that the possibilities for artists and songwriters have never been greater. At the same time, the competition has never been greater.
- “Music is an unpredictable industry, and the most important thing is good content. We have a rich music scene with amazingly talented creators and music performers," says Audun Molde.
Video heading: “Sometimes I need to find energy I do not have,” says Aurora.