There must be something in the water in Sweden… What’s behind the country’s pop success?
From Abba to Robyn, Sweden’s reputation for pop superiority has reigned supreme. In May of 2012, half of the top 10 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 were written or produced by Swedes. Sweden is the third-largest music exporter in the world behind the U.S. and the UK.
One reason behind this is that the music publishers, video producers, educational groups and artists are concentrated in Sweden’s capital of Stockholm. The major labels who are responsible for 80 percent of domestic pop music—are nearly all headquartered in the capital. This creates a tight knit cluster of artists who build off one another, creating consistency in their high caliber of work. They also have a supportive government which provides an educational system that encourages their youth to get involved in the industry at an early age. It is this support which legendary hit maker Max Martin, who wrote songs like “Baby One More Time” and “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” credits to some of his extraordinary success. So there are some interesting geopolitical elements at play that contribute to the music-exporting phenomenon that Sweden has become.
The Swedes are also notoriously trend savvy. You only have to look at H&M and IKEA, or even Spotify – which was founded by a man named Daniel Ek in Stockholm in 2006. They also prioritise melody above anything else, lyrics and production come secondary, hence their ability to create a tune that sticks in your head for weeks on end.
Ultimately, Sweden’s exports of electro pop princesses is beyond impressive. It’s baffling. These women are effortlessly cool, can write incredible songs and some of them do it whilst looking like they have rolled out of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue ( Zara Larsson, Tove Lo, Lykke Li to name a few).
If you don’t believe me, check out the below… The proof is in the (Swedish) pudding:
If I started singing into a megaphone whilst dancing to a walkman I’m pretty sure I would be arrested for being drunk and disorderly. How are they so cool and what’s going on in Sweden to create such wonderful musical geniuses?!