The Swedish music export phenomenon
In the April newsletter we published an interview that we did with Swedish producer and DJ, Axwell. Continuing our coverage of the Swedish music industry, in this month’s newsletter we take a closer look at the most popular songs of today and it may surprise you that many of the songs are actually produced or written by native Swedes.
Let us take a look at the US Billboard Top 10 chart from May 1st:
1. Gotye feat. Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know
2. fun. feat. Janelle Monae – We Are Young
3. The Wanted – Glad You Came
4. One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful
5. Justin Bieber – Boyfriend
6. Flo Rida feat. Sia – Wild Ones
7. Nicki Minaj – Starships
8. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
9. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
10. Katy Perry – Part Of Me
These artists or songs does not seem very Swedish at a first glance, but 5 out of 10 of these songs are actually produced or written by Swedes.
4. One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful (Written by the two Swedes: Rami Yacoub and Carl Falk)
6. Flo Rida feat. Sia – Wild Ones (Produced by Axwell, a Swede who we published an interview with in the April newsletter)
7. Nicki Minaj – Starships (Produced by the three Swedes: RedOne, Rami Yacoub and Carl Falk)
9. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (Co-written by the Swede Jörgen Elofsson)
10. Katy Perry – Part Of Me (Produced by the Swede Max Martin)
Taking this into account, it is perhaps not surprising that Sweden is the largest exporter of pop music per capita and the third largest overall trailing Great Britain and USA. In 2008 it was estimated that Swedish pop music exports totalled over $800 million USD (Source: Currents).
If we take a look at the electronic dance music genre (EDM in short), Sweden also have a strong presence. In this year’s Grammy Awards for Best Dance Recording, more than half of the nominees were Swedish. One of the most influential rankings for DJs, the DJ Mag ranks the top 100 DJs of the world every year. For the year of 2011, Sweden had several DJs in the top 15. Avicii on #6, Swedish House Mafia on #10, Axwell on #12 with many others in the top 30.
On the EDM equivalent of the Top 10 US Billboard; the Beatport Top 10, Sweden had 2 out of the top 3 songs at the time this article was written. The 21-year old DJ and producer Alesso on number 1, and the 22-year old DJ and producer Avicii on number 3.
A very popular tradition and music contest in Sweden is “Melodifestivalen” which is held each
year. In this competition, the Swedish artist elite competes with songs in different rounds where one song is finally selected the winner. The winner is then selected to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), the world’s most watched non-sporting event of the world. This year the finale of ESC was held in Baku, Azerbaijan, where the 2011 winner was from. Sweden’s representative this year was Loreen with the song “Euphoria” written by Thomas G:son and Peter Boström.
With the second highest ever score in the contest’s history, we are proud to say that Sweden won with the song “Euphoria” by Loreen. See the finale performance below: