The role of cultural and creative industries has been given increased importance since the year 2000. This has been evident in inter-ministerial cooperation on the national level, but even more so in cultural policies on the regional and local levels. Especially in some municipalities and regions, the creative industries have now become the focus for cultural policy in the hope of developing the regions and strengthening their financial situation.
The Government Commission on the Restart of Culture has proposed the creation of an inter-ministerial coordinating unit for government initiatives directed at the cultural and creative industries, as well as a fund for cofounding matching private initiatives in support of arts and culture (SOU 2021:77). Similar measures have been taken earlier. The Foundation for the Culture of the Future (Stiftelsen Framtidens kultur) was established by the government in 1994 to support long-term and innovative cultural projects, and stimulating regional culture in a wider sense. It ceased its operations in 2011. In its 2009 government bill on cultural policy (prop. 2009/10:3), the government created a new fund for similar purposes, the Culture Bridge (Kulturbryggan), which is currently administered by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, focusing on innovative arts and culture projects, rather than specifically on financially innovative projects.
In describing cultural and creative industries, the Swedish government generally uses the same definition as the EU. In national statistics, cultural and creative industries include architecture, audiovisual media, computer games, film and TV, radio, art, design, photo, archives, museums, historical and archaeological sites, press, literature, libraries, fashion, advertising, music, art education, and stage arts. Studies in this area have been performed by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) in collaboration with the Swedish Agency for Cultural Analysis, the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Evaluations and Analyzes (Tillväxtanalys), and Statistics Sweden (Statistiska Centralbyrån). In a 2018 report, they conclude that increased efforts have to be made not only to support this sector, but also to adequately measure its contributions to the economy, for example the contributions of digital production and of cultural and creative industries in regional growth. According to their studies, cultural and creative industries contributed 3.1 % of GDP in 2016, and there were approximately 130 000 businesses and 143 000 employees in the sector. During the period 2010–2016, the export of goods from cultural and creative industries increased from just over SEK 16 billion to almost SEK 21 billion. The number of companies increased by almost 15 000 from 2010 to 2016. The number of employees in the sector remained relatively stable during the same period. Most new companies had 0 employees (the owner of the company not counted). This highlights the importance of improving conditions for small businesses in order to strengthen cultural and creative industries, as well as other innovative businesses (Tillväxtverket 2021). There is now reason to believe that cultural and creative industries have been significantly hit by the Covic-19 pandemic and the measures taken against it (SOU 2021:77). In November 2021, the government appointed a special enquiry to propose a national strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries.
Much more than on the national level, cultural and creative industries tends to be in focus on the local, and to some extent, on the regional level. Several Swedish cities and less populated municipalities have made efforts to use culture as a means to revive the local economy and make the municipality a more attractive place to live or invest. Such efforts are often guided by the notion of cultural planning, focusing on mapping and making use of all of the cultural resources available in the local cultural life. Measures to stimulate cultural and creative industries are commonly discussed in the regional culture plans presented by regional authorities to the Swedish Arts Council, which thus plays a role in approving these measures on the national level. The Government Agency for Cultural Analysis also plays a role in evaluating these measures, and has published several reports dealing with them.