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Oslo is the home of the pop and rock museum

There is only one good location of a national center for popular music. The choice should be simple. Here are ten reasons why.


The battle for the location of the National Center for Norwegian Popular Music stands between Oslo and Trondheim. It stands between a proposal initiative from the environment itself and an initiative from two politicians in Trondheim. In the Schous quarter in Oslo, the center will become a pillar in the most extensive cultural quarter in the Nordic region, and thus will have great national significance. Here, the Center for Norwegian Popular Music will be part of a larger industrial cluster of different cultural actors where the opportunities for collaboration and synergies will be completely unique. Any political decision to remove the center of Norwegian popular music from this industrial cluster would be a cultural-political fadesh of dimensions. The Oslo alternative is also by far the most affordable alternative, and can free up funds for several very good regional rhythmic music initiatives. In fact, by choosing the Oslo solution, economically, there is more and better district policy!

If you have to prove the facts and logical arguments, the choice is really very simple. The result of possibly adding this center to Trondheim will be a blast as the news interest. Then the big pop and rock environment will cease to care, and one has ended up with an expensive built, expensive run center for the regional music scene in Trøndelag. That is not what the Norwegian music scene needs, when in the cultural quarter Schous has unique opportunities to create a national center that will have a great impact on the further, positive development of Norwegian popular music. Can't it be so hard to let reason prevail then?

Although I quickly think of a hundred good reasons why the national museum / experience center for Norwegian popular music must be placed in Oslo. Here are ten of them:

1. Almost 80 per cent of the Norwegian music industry is located in the capital

The numbers are taken from the Music Guide. Rock as a cultural expression is by nature urban, and requires a high tolerance factor. It is therefore in its soul to search for the big cities. The rock as a business is extensive, requires a lot of content providers for its product, and is a large industry. Which, in the most extreme cases, comes to the conclusion that "the company" U2 is Ireland's largest export item, that Bjørk is Iceland's second largest or that Swedish popular music is Sweden's 3 largest export industry. This is so because there are so many related industries that are affected by the success products in the industry. Which, in turn, is a factor in the industry and the environment moving into the big cities, where they find the necessary networks and content providers. In Norway, only Oslo, by virtue of its size, has an extensive enough network of necessary content providers for the industry. In addition, Oslo is considered a "tolerant" city. In other words, there are logical reasons why Oslo has become a rock center in Norway.

2. The environment has spoken.

The Oslo alternative has in the last 2 months experienced a stream of supporting declarations, including from the actors directly affected by the artists, and in many cases also represent the artists. These are management, booking agency, promotion agency and so on. What the "environment" means, which after all is the content providers and users of such a center, should also weigh very heavily.

3. The Norwegian record industry has spoken.

FONO – the association for the Norwegian record companies, has in its consultation statement to the Ministry of Culture (KKD) concluded that the national experience center must be added to Oslo to serve Norwegian music life in the best way. Fono represents over 120 Norwegian companies, which means almost all Norwegian record companies. This is about it Norwegian popular music and the fact that FONO, as a representative of the Norwegian record companies, after careful and comprehensive assessments fall down that Oslo is the right location, should weigh very heavily.

4. The Oslo alternative is by far the strongest proposal.

ABM Development's report for the Storting concluded with the statement above. What settled in Oslo's disfavour was "lack of local / regional political support". However, one of the main points of ABM's conclusion is that advice is situational; “We summarize that the process of creating an adventure center / museum of pop and rock history is far from complete. There are still several important questions to be clarified on all the alternatives, and at the same time there is a continuous development in the matter. ABM Development's recommendation must therefore be perceived as situational, based on how the various alternatives appear at the end of March 2005. »

Based on the fact that ABM-development concluded that the Oslo alternative appears to be the "Professionally speaking strongest strong", and that we subsequently have interdisciplinary support in the municipality (see point 5), and consolidation with a museum (see point 6) an investigation today would probably have fallen on Oslo.

5. The municipality has spoken.

The City of Oslo has now guaranteed 40% of its operating assets. They have also confirmed that the focus on the Schous quarter as a cultural quarter will be a major focus area for the municipality in the years to come.

6. The center administers administratively and financially under the Norwegian Folk Museum.

The Norwegian Folk Museum is strongly in favor of such a consolidation. In their reasoning lies that they believe it is their mandate to also include popular music culture, which alongside the film has been the most important cultural expression since World War II. “To preserve, build up knowledge of and present Norwegian rock and pop history we see as a national task, which should therefore be added to a national institution in the capital. We further believe that the cultural complex pop and rock is part of is so extensive that it belongs not only to a special museum, but to a general cultural history museum. From the start, the Norwegian Folk Museum's field of work has been to collect, preserve and disseminate Norwegian folk culture. In recent years, the museum has also invested heavily in contemporary documentation and research, including through projects on youth culture. Consolidation with the Norwegian Pop and Rock Museum will therefore fall naturally within the framework of the Norwegian Folk Museum.

Popular music is more than the music itself, it is also the connecting element of a cultural complex that encompasses much more than musical instruments and gramophone records. The remnants of popular music as a total complex therefore encompass far more than analog and digital audio sources. A pop and rock museum sound should, in our view, build up versatile collections of objects related to both music producers and consumers. Connecting to a museum with a conservation staff with broad expertise in different types of materials will therefore be a strength. ”

The consolidation will mean significant financial savings not only in the administrative and accounting, but not least in the joint use of the Folkemuseet's extensive workshop, for the production of both installations, permanent exhibitions and walking exhibitions. The Folk Museum is also one of Norway's most modern museums for preserving and restoring all types of materials.

The Norwegian Folk Museum sees a great opportunity, through the collaboration with the Center for Norwegian Popular Music, to reach a larger audience also to the museum at Bygdøy. In collaboration, the Folk Museum will also have access to large quantities of material that they can use in their own exhibitions dealing with modern Norway.

7. Oslo is by far the cheapest solution.

The Schous center is estimated at NOK 19,5 million. The Trondheim model will cost 30 million, according to their own prospectus. The main reason for the difference is that at Schous they move into pre-existing premises. In addition, considerable savings are achieved in cooperation with the Norwegian Folk Museum, as mentioned in point 6.

In an imagined, yet real scenario, it would thus be economically feasible to choose an Oslo solution, and at the same time have 10.5 million to use for rhythmic centers in several Norwegian cities, for the sum the Trondheim alternative alone will cost. In other words, it is better to have a district policy out of the Oslo solution, if one expects such a model! In addition to the Trondheim project, the municipality of Trondheim expects the State to also contribute financially to their Trikkestall project (training rooms and skate hall), which is estimated to cost 12 million.

At the same time, through their own prospectus to KKD, you know that the entire Trøndelagsforsalget, which also includes the Rock City project in Namsos, will cost a total of NOK 72 million!

8. Oslo has by far the largest audience potential.

This is also particularly pointed out in the ABM development report for the Storting: “A museum / adventure center should in principle provide the widest possible audience with knowledge and experiences. It is obvious that an alternative located to Oslo will have a greater audience potential than the other alternatives ”.

9. Akerselva / Grünerløkka cultural cluster.

This area is now developing into Norway's major power center for the cultural industry. As the strongest cultural expression of the last 50 years, popular music has extensive significance for all other art expressions. A center for popular music culture will therefore be of great importance for the exploitation of synergies throughout the area, and is therefore also strongly desired by all other institutions and actors who are in the process of positioning themselves along the Akerselva River. In the Schous quarter (regulated for cultural purposes by the municipality) lies the potential to develop Norway's largest cultural quarter as a national power center for culture in Norway.

10. The navel of the Nordic countries – popular musicology.

The University of Oslo – UiO, has in the last 15 years had the largest research community in the field of popular music. As a result, last year they were awarded a major scholarship from the Norwegian Research Council for a 5-year extended research on popular music. This makes UiO the Nordic region's largest in the field! UiO now sees the great potential in a collaboration between the Center for Popular Music, the Norwegian Folk Museum and the archive at the National Library, and has now established a network group at UiO that will work with a collaboration model. The core consists of the Department of Music and Theater, the Department of Media and Communication and the Department of Anthropology, but includes several other fields of study. The potential of such a quadrangular collaboration could form a basis for research on popular music culture and modern social research in general that can be unique not only in the Nordic region, but probably throughout Europe.

Svein Bjørge is known as the father of the Alarm Prize and initiator of the National Experience Center for Norwegian popular music.

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